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The Trinity College Historical Society 


The North Carolina Conference Historical Society 

/ //e% — o7o? ( Cf 1 2 _ J. 2. 



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Preface 3 

The Reips : Eminent Itinerants Through Three Genera- 
tions — ■ By Rev. N. H. D. Wilson $ 

Some First Things m North Carolina Methodism — By Rev. 

W. L. Grissom , 22 

f Peter Doub, Itinerant of Heroic D*x$ — By Rev. M. T. PlyJer. ... 33 

Methodism in :kh Albemarle Section- — By Hon. u L. Smith, 

Gatesville, N. C .": . , 51 

A Journal and Travel of Tames Meacham. — Part I, May 19 — 
> August 31, [789 66 


With this issue a change is made in the title of this publi- 
cation. It was initiated in 1897 as An Annua! Publication 
of Historical Papers by the Historical Society of Trinity 
College under the supervision of the Department of History, 
and appeared annually until 1901, when Professor Bassett, 
of the Department of History in Trinity College, became 
editor of the South Atlantic Quarterly. In 1905 publication 
was renewed with Series V. Since then it has been impossi- 
ble for the Papers to appear annually. One reason for this 
has been the foundation of the John Lawson Monographs by 
the Historical Society in 1910. In the meanwhile the Xorth 
Carolina Conference Historical Society has been accumulat- 
ing material for publication and by arrangement made with 
a committee of that body, consisting of Rev. W. W. Rose 
and Rev. M. T. Plyler, that Society now endorses and con- 
tributes to the Historical Papers. For these reasons the words 
Annual Publication and Under the supervision of the Depart- 
ment of History have been dropped from the title page, and 
the name of the Xorth Carolina Conference Historical Soci- 
ety has been added thereto. 

Wm. K. Boyd, 
President Trinity College Historical Society. 

October 17, 1912. 






From the session of the Xorth Carolina Conference of 
1870 until the afternoon of the eighth day of Xovemher. 
1872, this Conference had in its ministry three generations 
of one family. This fact is in itself, so far as 1 have been 
able to learn, unique in the annals of Southern Methodism; 
but the character, attainments, a ad success of these men 
make the case preeminently worthy of note. Frank L. Reid, 
known and loved by most of us, was at that time a mere lad, 
proving for the first time the weapons which he was to use 
so honorably in the years to come. His grandfather, Rev. 
James Reid, was the oldest member of the conference, a 
veteran of seventy-five years of life and of fif ty-nve years 
of service. Xuma Fletcher Keid, greater than his father 
and greater than his son, was at that time in the zenith of 
his reputation and power, the acknowledged leader of the 
Conference. A full account of the life and labors of either 
of these great men would exceed the limits of this paper as 
well as the powers of the writer, but as a study of them as a 
family possess advantages, I take as my subject 

The Reids: Eminent Itinerants Through Three Generations. 

James Keid, the unique founder of this honorable line. 
was born in Caswell county, X. C, April 5, 1705. His 
parents, Buford Keid and wife, were among the first and 
best members of the Methodist Church in that section. At 
an early age James gave his heart to God and united with 

* An Address to the North Carolina Conference Historical Society, 100T. 

6 Historical Papers 

the eiiiireli of Lis parents. According to the wise and pious 
custom of that day. he began while yet a boy to take part in 
public worship, and by this means was caused to hear a call 
to the ministry. 

The early educational advantages of James Reid were 
meager, as were those of nearly all his contemporaries. But 
he knew that the Christ whose love had saved him was the 
Savior of all men every where. With that message, which 
the profoundest learning may only enforce and can never 
improve, he went forth to call a sinful world to free salvation. 
In 1815, being twenty years of age, he was licensed to 
preach, and joined the Virginia Conference, which until 
183S included the northern half of the State of North Car- 
olina. From the founding of the Xorth Carolina Conference 
he was one of its most prominent members. During fifty- 
eight years of active itinerant service he never missed a 
Conference roll-call. Those fifty-eight years were years of 
toil, suffering, and triumph. Sixteen years he traveled dis- 
tricts. Two years he was Agent of Greensboro Female 
College. Five years he was in charge of the African Mission 
at Raleigh, and twenty-nine years he traveled circuits and 
stations. The last six years of his life he was Agent of 
Sunday Schools, an office which carried no salary and was, 
doubtless, a nominal appointment for a veteran who would 
not suffer himself to be superannuated. In 1872 he was 
elected Superintendent of Public Education for the State 
upon the Republican ticket. In the bitter feeling which 
then accompanied politics, this act brought upon him severe 
malediction. I once heard James W. Reid boast that so 
true was his Democracy, that in casting his maiden ballot 
he had refused to support his own grandfather. He died 
before entering upon this office. On the 8th of November, 
1872, on his way home, he dined at my father's house in 
Greensboro, and after dinner, being weary, went to his room 
for a rest. A short while later, a servant found him dead. 
I was too voting at that time to have any clear recollection of 

The Reids : Itinerants 7 


that sad event, but 1 can dimly remember the frantic running 

to and fro of the whole household in a futile effort to recall 

the fleeted spirit. 

(Dr. Charles F. Deems says of the old man : " lie was very- 
politic in a most innocent way. He never sought to hurt, 
| but always preferred to surround all his operations with a 

cloud of diplomacy, which was very transparent to all out- 
side, and which exhibited his genuine kind-heartedness, and 
sometimes really assisted his native shrewdness without ever 
creating doubts as to his goodness." Illustrating this he tells 
of the caucus which was held by the members of the Eorth 
Carolina Conference the night before the Salisbury session 
of 1851. In 1850 the Conference had secured the transfer 
of a part of the territory in this Stale held by the South 
Carolina Conference, but in 1851 steps were being taken by 
the South Carolina brethren to destroy the effect of this 

! action. Our Conference was to be presided over by Bishop 

Andrew, a former member of the South Carolina Conference. 
I and he was feared. So this caucus was called to guard against 

any injurious act hj him. Feeling was intense but the matter 
was one of great delicacy. Uncle Reid took the floor and 
spoke at length.' He described the situation in language 
which seemed most frank but which left the hearer in pro- 
found doubt as to how he himself regarded it. He closed by 
saying: " Mr. Chairman. I'll tell you just what kind of a 
resolution I want passed." " Xow, thought I" says Dr. 
Deems, "we shall know just which side he is on. He made 
an impressive rhetorical pause, and looking around the 
room, he brought his eyes back to the chairman and waving 
his index finger he said slowly, * I want a resolution that 
shall be clear, forcible, and to the point, but perfectly non- 
committal. 7 " But we must not judge the old man by his 
eccentricities alone. At the request of the family ray father 
prepared a memorial sermon to be preached at Conference, 
but a sudden attack of sickness prevented him. The sermon, 
therefore, was preached by Dr. William Closs ; and, both 


8 Historical Papers 

from speaker and subject, was without doubt a memorable 
one. The names of William Close and ST. H. D. Wilson 
are signed to the Memoir, but I have reason to think that the 
latter wrote it. It is therefore my privilege to offer to you 
in the language of my own father the following summary of 
the life and work of Rev. James He id : — 

" He gave nearly fifty-eight years to the active work of the 
ministry, not the pleasant work of stations but mostly to cir- 
cuits and districts, very large and laborious. In April, 1822, 
he was happily married to Martha Edwards, of Rockingham 
county, an amiable young lady and a devoted Christian, 
well adapted by character and education and disposition to 
be the wife of a self-sacrificing Methodist preacher. At that 
time there were few married traveling preachers in the Vir- 
ginia Conference. In those days married preachers were not 
popular, and those who married located; but J*ames Reld 
and his family lived on such pay as was given him and 
endured all manner of hardships, and still the man of God 
never faltered. He was an able minister of the Gospel, 
preached in the power and demonstration of the Spirit, and 
was wise in winning souls to Christ with wisdom from above. 

"He was a warm beared, able supporter of all the great 
enterprises of the Church. With his small salary he man- 
aged to give his children a good education and he did much 
to promote the cause of education in our Church and the 
State generally; he was not only an active, faithful trustee 
of our colleges, but supported them in every way with emi- 
nent ability. He was one of those clear-thinking, prudent, 
working men who make their mark upon the times. He 
was one of the fathers in the -North .Carolina Conference, 
preeminently a man of ability and weight among citizens 
and a man of God in the Church.'' 

In many respects Num. a Fletcher Reid was the exact oppo- 
site of his father. His early advantages were better, and he 
continued throughout life a student and a thinker. He was 
born in Rockingham county, July 3, 1825. As his father 

The Retbs: Itinerants 9 

was that year upon the Iredell circuit, I judge that he was 
born at the home of his mother's father, Rev. George Ed- 
wards, a prominent citizen and a useful local Methodist 
preacher. His advance in education was rapid. When only 
thirteen years of age he entered Emory and Henry College, 
then just beginning its useful career under the presidency o£ 
Dr. E. E. Wiley. Here his ability and industry won success 
and favor, but for some reason he was unable to complete his 
course. Remaining all his life a student he won from Ran- 
dolph-Macon the honorary degree of Master of Arts, and 
from the University of ZSTorth Carolina the degree of Doctor 
of Divinity. 

At sixteen years of age he began to teach. After two 
years in country schools, he opened an academy at Went- 
worth, which he continued until he entered the ministry. 
His success as a teacher was great. A clear mind, a firm 
will, a tender heart, a sound judgment, and a Christian con- 
science gave him a control over the minds and hearts of his 
pupils few possess. When scarcely twenty-one years old he 
married Miss Anne E. Wright, the mother of his children, 
and after her death, a year before his own death, he married 
her sister, Miss Sally Wright. 

During the first year of his teaching, at a great camp- 
meeting at Mt. Carmel when the power of the Spirit was 
wondrously manifest^ he gave his heart to God. He began 
at once to pray and exhort, and was thus led to know that he 
could be useful in the ministry. At first his mind had turned 
toward the law, and there were not wanting many to urge 
upon him its flattering claims. Like many a young man he 
stood for a while at the parting of the ways. On the one 
hand beckoned fame, fortune, power, wealth — all the world 
had to oiler. But he was not disobedient to the heavenly 
vision. When Solomon chose wisdom as his portion, riches 
and honors were added thereto; so when Xuma Reid chose 
the toils and poverty of the itinerant ministry, there were 
added thereto fame, honor and happiness. 





10 HlS T O If I G A L P APE ItS 

In 1847 j Dr. Beid received license to preach. For a while 
he continued to teach, but in 1841) the Wentworth circuit 
was left open for him, and for two years he supplied it to 
the delight of his friends and neighbors. In 1851 he joined 
the Xorth Carolina Conference at Salisbury, and was sent 
to one of the best of the charges in the Conference, the Tar 
River circuit, which centered in Louisburg and contained 
some of the most cultured people of that time, His two 
years there were a time of trial and triumph. Some years 
before, his brother, Wesley, a youth of character and ability, 
had died of consumption. During these three years his 
three sisters, one after another, fell victims of the same dread 
disease. But he faltered not. 

Dr. Reid's advance in the church was almost phenomenal. 
From the Tar River circuit he went in succession to Wil- 
mington, Raleigh, and Greensboro, three of the most import- 
ant stations in the .Conference. In each of these he won fame 
and favor for himself and many souls for his Lord. The 
remaining years of his life were spent in the presiding elder- 
ship, and few if any have seized more effectively the vast 
possibilities of service which that exalted office orfers. In 
all matters of issue in the Conference he had strong, clear 
views, and did not hesitate to express them. Though there 
were giants in those days, he early became a leader. The 
years of his membership in the Conference were the most 
ominous of our history. Great questions involving the life 
of the Church and the State demanded solution. During his 
ministry the Raleigh Advocate was born; Trinity College 
passed into the hands of the Conference ; Greensboro Female 
College reached its zenith, fell before the destroyer, and was 
rebuilt; the terrible war between the States gathered, burst 
in devastating fury, and died into a sullen calm ; Reconstruc- 
tion wrought its horrors; the Smith-Deems feud well nigh 
rent the church; and, under pressure from without and 
within, the polity of the Methodist Episcopal .Church, South, 
suifered greater alteration than at any other time in its his- 

The Reids: Itistebakts 11 

tory. In all these Knma Fletcher Reid bore bravely his part 
as God gave him to see the right. 

He was four times elected to the General Conference, the 
last three times leading the delegation. It is said that one 
time he received all the votes save one, at another time all 
'save three, and at another all save live. The General Confer- 
ence of 1862 was not held, on account of the war, and he 
was obliged to leave the General Conference of 1866 in its 
opening days on account of sickness, thus being absent from 
the greatest session of the law-making body of the church 
ever held. In 1858 and 1870 he doubtless was active and 
influential, serving there with fidelity and discretion which 
marked his work elsewhere, but as the General Conference 
work is so largely done in committees, it is impossible at this 
day to judge his service. In the internal affairs of the jSTorth 
Carolina Conference his influence can be more accurately 
traced. He was a friend of the Raleigh Advocate and a val- 
uable contributor to its columns. Trinity College owes much 
to him. In 1856 he advocated the acceptance of the school 
as a Conference 'College, not shrinking from crossing swords 
with his own father, who wished to remain loyal to Ran- 
dolph-Macon College. He was for many years an active 
trustee, and in IS 63, when the destiny of the college was 
again in the balance, his eloquent voice was heard in her 
vindication. The names of B. Craven and ^. H. D. Wilson 
were signed with his to the report which, after a bitter fight, 
was adopted. He was chairman of the Board of Trustees 
of Greensboro Female College in the day of her dire distress, 
and with Kev. William Barringer was chiefly instrumental 
in restoring the building burnt in 1863. At that time my 
father was a banker in the city of Greensboro. While at no 
time ceasing to preach, and with the exception of a year or 
two in active charge of work, he had, through the exigencies 
of ill health and the pressure of the war, been forced into bus- 
iness life. To him Dr. Reid and Brother Barringer turned 
in the time of the college's srreat need. He had already 

12 Historic ax Papers 

given freely and had loaned all that seemed to him wise. 
but there now came a time when the very life of the college 
seemed at stake. The walls were up hut unprotected, and 
winter was hastening. It seemed that money sufficient for 
the work could not be had from any source. Bar ringer and 
Reid, his two comrades, colleagues in the work of God. 
entered his office and almost with tears in their eyes besought 
him to make another advance of a large sum of money. He 
clearly realized the risk, and hesitated, but they assured him 
that they would stand behind the loan with all their influence, 
and that the church would pay the debt. At last, knowing 
well the danger, for friendship's sake, for the church's sake, 
and for God's sake, he took the step which wrecked his for- 
tune and added untold burdens to his life. For before the 
college had opened Brother Barringer, falling from the walls 
of the college, was killed, and in a few weeks Dr. Eeid also 
died. But why should I grieve '\ My father held his friends 
in tenderest remembrance till the day of his death ; he loved 
his church with even greater devotion and never failed to 
find excuses for her unfaithfulness, and he never doubted 
that disappointment, loss, poverty, and burdens were God's 
loving will working him good. For he was 

"One who never turned his back, but marched breast forward, 
Never doubted clouds would break, 
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong would triumph, 
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better, sleep to wake." 

Beside Dr. Reid's activity within the church, he was an 
ardent member of the Masonic Fraternity, and one of the 
masterpieces of his oratory was his address at the centennial 
of the Fraternity in Xorth Carolina, held in Raleigh Jan- 
uary 14, 1871, This oration with a number of his sermons 
and other speeches were published after his death under the 
editorship of his sons, James W. Reid. Esq., and Rev. F. T^, 
Reid. The Biographical Sketch in this volume was pre- 
pared by the Rev. John W. Lewis, Dr, Reid's brother-in-law. 

The Reids: Itinerants 13 

himself an honored member of the Xortk Carolina Confer- 
ence, This sketch has been the chief source of my informa- 
tion about the first two generations of this remarkable family. 
The volume of sermons received flattering reception and 
is perhaps the most widely circulated volume of Methodist- 
sermons in Xorth Carolina today. 

During the spring of 1873 the delicate frame, which, ac- 
cording to Dr. Reid's own word, had been sustained from the 
days of childhood by prayer, yielded to the accumulated 
blows of the Destroyer. On the 6th day of June, 1877, 
shortly after he had said to his son, " Frank, I see my 
mother and your mother/' the tired body found rest, and 
the liberated soul swept out into the realities of eternity. 
His funeral sermon was preached by Dr. Braxton Craven 
on June 8th, in the church at Wentworth, where most of his 
life had been lived and where he died. It was a friend's 
magnificent tribute to his friend, from the appropriate text, 
" Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen 
this day in Israel V At the Conference session my father 
preached the Memorial Sermon. There had fallen that year 
William Holmes, a veteran, Alfred Xorman, another veteran 
who had been my father's senior preacher the first year he 
was in the Conference, William Bar ringer, his neighbor and 
friend for years, and X. F. Reid, another of his dearest 
friends. He chose on that occasion for his text St. Paul's 
pean of triumph: "I am now ready to be offered and the 
time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, 

I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Hence- 
forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which 
the Lord the righteous judge, will give at that day: and not 
to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing. " — 

II Tim. iv, 6-8. 

In 1870, while James Reid was the reverend senior vet- 
eran of the Conference and Ki F. Reid its idolized leader, 
Frank Lewis Reid, a boy of nineteen years was received on 
trial. Born in Rockingham county, June 16, 1851, he early 

14 Historical Papers 

received wise menial and spiritual training, indeed he devel- 
oped almost prematurely. He was early converted and while 
a student at Trinity College was licensed to preach by the 
Quarterly Conference of High Point and Trinity College 
station, over which his father presided. After his gradua- 
tion and a short term of teaching he joined the iSTorth Caro"- 
lina Conference at Greensboro. 

The first three years of his ministry were spent success- 
fully on the Madison circuit in his native county. Here he 
married Miss Minnie F. Cardweli. Next he filled a four- 
year term to the satisfaction and edification of the cultured 
town of Louisburg. During the last year he was elected 
President of Louisburg Female College, but resigned after 
only one year of service. Brother Reid seemed upon the 
threshold of a pastorate of eminent usefulness, but a weak 
throat made the longer continuance of the pastorate impos- 
sible. So in October of 1878 he, with Dr. W. S. Black, 
bought the Raleigh Advocate from Dr. J. B. Bobbitt ; then 
he entered upon the real work of his life. Twice afterward 
he was temporarily in charge of other work. In 1881 he 
filled out Rev. A. A. Boshamer's year as pastor of Edenton 
Street Church, Raleigh, and in 1888 he became, at my father's 
death, Presiding Elder of the Raleigh District. During 
1881: he purchased Dr. Black's interest in the Advocate and 
remained sole owner and editor until he accepted the pres- 
idency of Greensboro Female College in 1893. He, like his 
father, was a member of the Masonic Fraternity, and was 
twice the Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina. 
He was appointed Director of the Penitentiary by Governor 
Scales, and a Director of the North Carolina Railroad by 
Governor Carr. In connection with the Penitentiary there 
occurred an incident which showed Frank Reid's wisdom, 
moral courage, and tenderness of heart. For some reason 
a guard had knocked a convict down with a heavy weapon. 
The negroes, seeing the bloody and apparently dead body 
borne by, became possessed with an insane fear that they 

The Keids: Itinerants ' 15 

ail were ro be butchered. When, ordered to their cells they 
refused to go, and, tearing up the pavement of the prison, 
they were ready to meet force with bloody resistance. The 
military companies of Raleigh were ordered out to quell the 
mutiny, and the Raleigh negroes, sullen and bitter, began to 
gather to help their brethren within. The scene seemed laid 
for a tragedy. Dr. Reid, the only Director in the city, was 
summoned, and with authority ro use the military to the 
utmost, was in charge. A foolish public clamored for the 
order to fire to be given; and, if I am rightly informed, the 
State officers and the officials of the Penitentiary sympathized 
with the demand. But Frank Reid was resolved that not one 
of the poor frenzied prisoners should be hurt. He sought to 
reason with them, but that proved of no avail. Knowing the 
nature of the negro well, he then called them to prayer. For 
this he was the butt of ridicule to certain people, but "more 
things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." 

(In a short time the frenzy was over, the soldiers disbanded, 
and the sullen negroes without dispersed. 

My personal relations with Dr. Reid began under circum- 
stances which will also shed light upon his character. When 
his father had died and my father became his successor, being 
at that time a man of means, he gave to Mrs. Reid and the 
children the full salary for the year. So when my father died, 
Dr. Frank Reid desired to do as nearly as possible the same 
thing for my mother. But as his health was not robust he 
conditioned that I enter the office as his assistant. He always 
thought that the double work of this year was the cause of 
his broken health. At the District Conference he was taken 
violently ill. I well remember the day when, without warn- 
ing, after only three weeks experience, with the work behind 
because both of us had been out of the office, the whole respon- 
bility of the paper was thrown upon me. For the first time 
since Dr. Reid had been editor the paper went to press with- 
out the careful scrutiny of his eye. It thus became a custom 
for him to secure my help during my vacations. A part of 

16 Histokical Papers 

the time he would give to lighter work and a part to perfect 
rest. By reason of the resulting intimacy. I came to have an 
almost unequaled knowledge of the man. When he was first 
asked to accept the presidency of Greensboro Female College, 
he urged me to surrender my pastorate at Franklinton to 
bcome the managing editor of the Advocate, he to remain' the 
owner and editor. His propositions were not only fair but 
flattering, and there was no one with whom I would more 
gladly have been associated, but I felt it my duty to refuse. 
He therefore at first declined the offer of the college, but 
when it was urged and he was able to make an admirable 
provision for the paper, he accepted, and in the summer of 
1893 entered upon the duties of his new office, 

I will allow another, his colleague in that noble institution 
and a careful student of her history, to tell of his work there. 
Dr. C. L, Raper says : 

" Rev. Frank L. Reid, D. D.. became Dr. Dixon's suc- 
cessor. He came at a time when great ability was required. 
The State Xormal and Industrial College for Women had 
opened up at Greensboro, October. 1892. This was supported 
by the State and the Peabody funds, and had one of the 
strongest faculties ever gathered together in ^orth Carolina. 
For some time many thought that this institution would soon 
prove the ruin of Greensboro Female College. Such fore- 
bodings were false. Dr. Reid, one of the very ablest men 
of his day, was at the head, and he knew no failure. Though 
he was the guide but little more than a year, still that time 
is very precious in the history of the college. He brought 
new life and hopes to the faculty and students, he purchased 
the first real chemical equipment the institution ever had at 
a cost of $600, he erected the President's Residence, he en- 
large! the scope oi the institution and made and confirmed 
friends here and there." 

A few months before Dr. Reid's death, Judge Walter 
Clark had written of him: "The full measure or Dr. Reid's 
fame and usefulness has by no means yet been reached. He 

The Beids: Itinerants 17 

is still a young man, and is one of that small class of men who 
grow with the demands made upon them. If spared by Divine 
Providence, he will render yet more distinguished service 
to his church and to the people of his native state.'' But he 
was hot to be spared. When yet but forty-three years of age 
his work was ended. His death, which occurred September 
14, 1S94, seemed a terrible blow to his family, his college, 
his church, and his state, but as he was wont to quote: 

''Sometime when all life's lessons have been learned. 

And sun and stars forever more have set, 
The things which our weak judgments here ha^e spumed, 

The things o'er which we grieved with lashes wet, 
Will flash before us out of life's dark night 

As stars shine most in deepest tints of blue; 
And we shall see how all God's plans were right, 

And how what seemed reproof, was love most true." 

Perhaps my very nearness to Dr : Reid may disqualify me 
to judge, but many wiser than I pronounced him a re- 
markable man. He was nut a great scholar. He was far too 
full of the practical duties of life for that. But he had read 
much and had no small resource of information. He w T as 
not his father's equal as a preacher, but he was an able, 
interesting, and instructive preacher, always welcomed to 
our best pulpits. I shall ever remember one sermon I heard 
him preach. It was at the time of the severest trial of his 
life when, through the sins of one dear unto him, he had suf- 
fered much. His theme was the ''Blessings of xViiliction." 
The whole sermon was impressive and he closed with a mas- 
terly recitation of George Herbert's poem, which ends : 

"If goodnesse leade him not, yet wearinesse 
May toss him to my breast." 

Xbr would I even say that Dr. Ffceid was a great writer. He 
was practical rather than profound. But he was a great editor. 
His style was pure, clear, strong. His judgment of men was 
excellent. He was delightfully complimentary, but never 

18 Historical Papers 

effusively so. And he had practical wisdom. Usually right 
himself, he was wise enough to heed the advice of those older 
than lie. And as a business man he deserved the remarkable 
tribute which I draw from a private letter from one of 
Raleigh's great business men, Joseph G. Brown, President of 
the Citizen's Bank : — 

" Frank Iteid was a genius. He was one of the few 
preachers I have known who could mingle freely with busi- 
ness men and participate in the affairs of their daily life 
without, in any way, impairing his influence and his popu- 
larity as a preacher. While a resident of this city as the 
editor of the Advocate, his public spirit led him to keep in 
closest touch with the commercial and industrial as well as 
the religious life of the community, and yet our people in 
every denomination always heard him gladly when he offici- 
ated in the pulpits of the city. He had a faculty of reaching 
a conclusion as to his own course of action promptly and 
wisely, and of leading ethers to his way of thinking. He 
was easily a leader. In business he was prudent and careful, 
and always trustworthy. His word was his bond. I have 
had to do with many an estate — estates of business and pro- 
fessional men, — and in no single instance have I found 
affairs so well systematized and so plainly set forth in every 
detail as his matters, and no one of my acquaintances has so 
clearly indicated the wisest course of dealing with his estate 
for the guidance of his family." 

Such ability, coupled with years of toil, made him success- 
ful in building up the Advocate, But no man can ever know 
the load he carried through the years of his ownership of the 
paper. About him and about it beat many bitter storms. 
These I have not space to consider justly. It may be that 
much of that history ought to be forgotten, but I can but 
hope that some man, wise and discreet, may be chosen to open 
to us at no distant session "The Biography of Old Raleigh." 
Her youth was checkered, her maidenhood stormy, her mar- 
ried life unhappy, her divorce to be bewailed, but fair skies 

The Reids : Itinerants 19 

now shine over her. Long, useful, and happy be her days! 
It must be said that Dr. Reid took the paper small and. poorly 
patronized, and turned it over to his successors triumphant 
over all opposition, with a large patronage and the organ of 
the united Methodists of Xorth Carolina. 

His influence was also felt in every department of the life' 
of the church. He did valiant service in the effort to secure 
the Xorth Carolina territory from the Virginia Conference. 
He was a most efficient friend and trustee of Trinity College. 
He secured the funds to furnish the new buildings at Dur- 
ham. In 1890 he was a member of the General Conference 
and in 1891 was appointed a delegate to the Ecumenical 
Conference at Washington. In young manhood he received 
the degree of Master of Arts from Trinity College, and in 
1800 va? made Doctor of Divinity by the University of 
Ivorrh Carolina. Bui best of all, Frank Reid was a great man 
— a Christian man. I knew his sweet home life : a truer, ten- 
derer father and husband I never saw. I knew his dealings 
with the workmen in his employ: they almost worshipped 
him. I knew his loyalty to his State and to his Church, his 
love for his brethren and for his God. In all these he was a 
great man. 

The lives of Xuma Fletcher Reid and Frank L. Reid. his 
son, repudiate the slander so oft disproved and yet again and 
again repeated against "the preacher's son." 

One of the greatest of Dr. X. F. Reid r s published sermons 
was on the ''Pastorate." Its eloquent conclusion illustrates the 
great preacher's style when under emotion, but more, it gives 
worthy utterance to the hope which inspired his own life and 
the lives of his father and of his son. In the strength of it 
they wrought. May it inspire us to like fidelity and victory. 
He exclaims: 

u Now for his reward ! A few words are sufficient for this. 
'Shall, doubtless, come again with rejoicing, bringing his 
sheaves with him.' Shall come to rest and luxuriate, bring- 
ing the fruit of his toil along. Has he aspirations I Does he 

20 Historical Papers 

lore fame — distinction? It is all right, only let him keep it 
elevated. He may be brim full of it. if he will only give it 
its true object. Does he long for rest — cessation from toil ? 
Does he wish to exchange his weeping for rejoicing \ Doe- 
he want a home, a house i Let him sow now in vales, with 
tears — sow in cabins : lei handfuls be sown in the abodes 
of misery, stock the highway furrows, try some near the rock, 
scatter it in palaces. ; and in due season he shall reap if he 
faint not.' When the great harvest comes ; when the reapers 
descend ; when the pomp of this world shall pale before the 
second coming; when the waning splendor of the crumbling 
thrones of earth shall be brought in contrast with that which 
shall descend from above ; 'when victors' wreathes and mon- 
archs' gems shall be overshadowed by crowns that outglirter 
a universe of suns ; when the men who have gone down under 
drum-roll and cannons boom, whose death-draped empires 
in mourning shall wake up from beneath their monuments 
of brass and marble, astounded and amazed 10 find them, 
as they are, toppling and falling symbols of their folly and 
testimonials to their perverted aspirations ; — Oh. then he, 
and you, and all God's preachers, shall come rejoicing, bring- 
ing your sheaves with you. Then will be seen what is the 
true good. That will be your time. You are the men of im- 
portance then. That willbe the time when you will figure. 
I had rather be one of you then, even the humblest. I am 
sure, than he who has gained the whole world. Let us go 
forward, if we can, to the scene. There see an old yoke-fellow 
in the Gospel; I have seen him before, heard him preach, 
was but little impressed; saw him die, passed his tomb, read 
the inscription — it was a plain stone, smoothed and sculp- 
tured by unskilled hands — it read : % In memory of Eev. John 
Faithful. He was a plain, unassuming man. limited in edu- 
cation, but of good native talent: holy and devoted to his 
work ; the widow's friend, the orphan's benefactor : he sowed 
in tears and died in peace.' There he is; see! Who are those 
by his side i women and children i They look like sheaves ; 

The Eeids: Itinerants 21 

now they are changing into stars and are being set in a 
crown. What a crown! My God, is it not a good time for 
him ( There are others there we know. Hezekiah Leigh, 
Compton, Brame, Rich, Bumpass, Brent, ISTesbit, Xewby, 
Nicholson. They all have their sheaves with them; and there 
are their crowns, and harps, and palms, and they are -all 
singing 'Worthy is the -Lamb that died/ 'Redeeming love — all 
for love of ns.' Ah. my brethren, if I am so fortunate to be 
numbered in that company, I tell you what I intend to say, 
if no one else says it first — the first lull that comes in the song 
I intend to say : — 

"Angels assist our mighty joys, 

Strike all your harps of gold, 
But when you raise your highest notes, 

His love can ne'er be told." 



The very first thing connected with Methodism in North 
Carolina was a Methodist preacher; his name was Joseph 
Pilmoor, He was a scholarly, polished gentleman. He 
preached the first Methodist sermon ever delivered in North 
Carolina on September 28, 1772. from the text: " He 
shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." This 
was a good text to kindle the flame that was soon to spread 
over the colony like wild fire. It was preached at Currituck 
Court House; it made a profound impression upon the con- 
gregation present, and at the close of the service Col. Hallo- 
well Williams invited the preacher home with him for dinner. 
Hence, Colonel Williams has the honor of being the first 
North Carolinian to emerrain a Methodist preacher. Doctor 
Coke stepped with him in 1785 and speaks of him in very 
complimentary terms. Colonel Williams was a member of 
that session of the Provincial Congress which met in Halifax 
in 1776 and was Colonel of the field officers of Currituck. He 
became an active Methodist and was a faithful worker in his 
church. But because he entertained the first Methodist 
preacher to enter North Carolina I would, if I could, embalm 
his memory so thai. Time's ruthless hand could never reach 
it or destory it. 

One of the great forces in Methodism has been her work 
in Christian education. Where did this great movement start? 
Did it have its beginning in New York, Philadelphia, or 
Baltimore, our great cities to the north of us? Did it have 
its origin in Virginia or South Carolina ? All these places 
have originated some things, but the first effort put forth by 
the Methodists in beginning the work of Christian educa- 
tion in America had its origin in North Carolina; for the 
fir^t contributions to a Methodist school were made by two 
laymen on the Old P^oanoke Circuit, and vou can never make 

♦Address before the North Carolina Conference Historical Society, 1908. 

Fiest 'Things in Methodism 23 

a complete list of the benefactors to education in Xorth Car- 
olina until you head it with the names of Gabriel Long and 
Mr. Bustian. A monument should be erected to their 

Whether these contributions went to the erection of Cokes- 
bury College in Maryland, or to the Cokesbury School on tile 
Yadkin, we are not able to say, but we do know that the first 
Conference school in America — the first to receive an ap- 
pointment from the Conference — was the Cokesbury School 
in what is now Davie county, on the west side of the Yadkin 
river, in Xorth Carolina. At the Conference which convened 
on December 9, 11 83, James Parks was taken from the Salis- 
bury District and appointed Principal of the Cokesbury 
School. So while Cokesbury College in Maryland was the 
first Methodist college in America, the Cokesbury school on 
the Yadkin was the first Methodist Conference high school, or 
preparatory school, in America. It had a small building, 
about twenty feet square. It was a small beginning. There 
was no great library or well-furnished dormitories or lecture 
halls with steam heat, but there Christian education as taught 
by the Methodists had its origin in Xorth Carolina. It does 
us good sometimes to go back and see from whence we came ; 
so that after a lapse of 118 years we see a great change. 
Instead of the one little school mentioned above, we see a 
great number of first-class schools which are worthy suc- 
cessors of the little Cokesbury School., and above all, we see 
Trinity College, towering up with a great and mighty pur- 
pose, charged with life and activity, sending out an influence 
that is strengthening and brightening our whole Southland. 
When we take this survey, and others in connection with our 
Methodism, after nearly a century and a quarter, we feel like 
exclaiming : " The Lord hath done great things for us ; 
whereof we are glad.*' 

But the great educational work done by the Methodist so- 
ciety in its early days was not done with classic walls, but 
its greatest educational force was the itinerant preacher him- 

24 Historical Papers 

self. While not always educated in the highest and best sense 
of the term, he has always stood for high ideals, and has been 
ready at all times to put forth every effort for the uplifting 
and betterment of the community in which he lives. From 
the time that the Methodist preacher first placed his foot on 
Xorth Carolina soil, he has been quite a factor in solving its' 
educational problem. The itinerant preacher w T ent every- 
where ; into the most obscure neighbohoods, partaking of 
their humble hospitality, and hence coming in contact with 
the poorest class of society. Here he sat and talked of men 
and things while the family group listened with attentive 
ears, until a late hour of the night. Such a visit often marked 
an epoch in the home. Xew aspirations were kindled in the 
hearts of young and old, higher ideals were realized, and the 
seeds were sown, the harvest of which we are still reaping. 
Judge Gaston, one of the most eminent jurists of his day, 
and who was a Roman Catholic in his religion, said that 
" the Methodist ministry ha* done more to improve the 
society of the rural districts than any other class of men, or 
any other class of agencies, that had ever been brought to 
bear on this subject." 

Xot only does Xorth Carolina claim that the first educa- 
tional movement in American Methodism was conceived in 
Xorth Carolina, but that her first publishing interest was 
projected from this State. Robert Williams, one of the first 
pioneers in Xorth .Carolina, published Mr. Wesley's sermons 
and some tracts and scattered them wherever he went. Mr. 
Wesley was a great writer and publisher, and he required his 
preachers to circulate good books as a part of their work, and 
in 1786 John Dickens, who was on the Bertie circuit, pre- 
pared the Discipline, in its present form, for publication. 
Previous to this the Discipline was in the form of questions 
and answers, but the work of John Dickens was to recast it 
into sections and paragraphs, similar to its present appear- 
ance. During this time he lived near Halifax, in his own 
house. On March 25, 1780, we find Bishop Asbury making 

First Things in Methodism 25 

the following entry in his Journal: "Read our form of Dis- 
cipline, in manuscript, which Brother Dickens has been pre- 
paring for the press.' 7 In 1787 it was published in pamphlet 

form, which was the third edition. 

Does not every circuit preacher in ]STorth Carolina feel a 
commendable pride in the fact that our Discipline was" for- 
mulated and written by a circuit rider on the Old Bertie 
Circuit \ Three years after this John Dickens moved to 
Philadelphia and laid the foundation of the great Methodist 
Book Concern with his own capital, amounting to about 

It will be interesting to note in this connection that the 
first Methodist periodical published in America originated 
in North Carolina. It was The Armenian Magazine, and 
was issued monthly during a part of 1789 and 1790. It was 
launched from a Conference at MeKnight's Meeting House, 
which convened on April 10, 1789. The prospectus contains 
four pages and was signed. "Thomas Coke, Francis Asburv, 
Xorth Carolina, April 10th, 1789.'' This was. no doubt, one 
of the items referred to by Bishop Asbury in writing of this 
Conference, where he says: "We had weighty matters for con- 
sideration before us." It would be interesting to some of us 
to visit the site of MeKnight's Meeting House, where a few 
foundation stones mark the spot in an old field on the east 
side of the Yadkin river, near Clemmonsville. Here several 
of the early Conferences were held, and here was conceived 
the first project of a Methodist periodical in America. Each 
magazine contained a sermon on doctrinal subjects. Coke's 
and Asbury^s Journals are run through several issues, and 
much valuable information on various subjects is found in 
every number : but at the expiration of two years, for some 
reason — perhaps for the lack of funds, — it was suspended. 

Another movement that had its origin in North Carolina. 
■<±n<i that meant much to Methodism during the first half of 
the last century, was that of the Camp Meeting. Xow some 
of my brethren, who have been reading Methodist history 


26 Historical Papers 

lor kali a century, may feel that we cannot justify the claim, 
•for all the general histories of Methodism, so far as I know, 
have given this honor to Kentucky, hut I make the claim for 
North Carolina without fear of successful contradiction. 
And I further claim that these histories will have to be re- 
vised, and North Carolina given her dues, before they are 
correct, in fact, the editor of the Central Methodist, pub- 
lished in Louisville, Ky., devoted about a page of his paper 
in reviewing my History of Methodism in North Carolina, 
and practically conceded the honor of originating the Camp 
Meeting to North Carolina. But it may be asked. Why was 
it that others have claimed what justly belongs to North Car- 
olina '. It was not because any one did an intentional wrong, 
but it was because North Carolina made history and did not 
write it. 

It is not the purpose of this paper to go into any argument 
to establish the claim here made, more than to say that in 
17S9 and 1790 Daniel Asbury and John McGee were mis- 
sionaries west of the Catawba river. There were no houses 
of worship-; the country was sparsely settled, and they would 
come together at some central point from many miles away; 
they could not return to their homes at night, and a great re- 
vival was in progress in the grove, so that the people remained 
and camped while the work of God moved on. Hence, Camp 
Meetings naturally grew out of a necessity. After these 
meetings had been conducted for several years in western 
North Carolina, John McGee moved west and introduced 
them into Tennessee and Kentucky, and they were published 
abroad as something new that had just been discovered, and 
North Carolina slept on and never contradicted it. 

Such meetings soon became very popular throughout the 
church, and the good they have done eternity alone can tell. 
One was held near Statesville in February, 1802, where great 
interest was manifested. From Saturday until Tuesday, ten 
o'clock, the cries of the wounded, and singing, praying, and 

Fiest Things ix Methodism 27 

shouting continued without intermission. Xear one hundred 
were under the operations of Grace at one time. 

As we speak of Camp Meetings, a picture arises before nn 
mind. It is that of a great arbor, with light-wood fires blaz- 
ing all around it. the sounding of a trumpet, the gathering 
of a great congregation, while all the people joined in singl- 
ing some old Methodist hymn that was an inspiration to 
every one present. The preacher delivers his sermon with 
great power, and the cries of the penitents and the shouts of 
the saints are heard until a late hour of the night. These 
are hallowed memories ! Conditions have changed, and other 
agencies are being used, while the Camp Meeting is largely 
a thing of the past. Instead of the brush arbor, the school 
house, and log meeting house in the scattered settlements, 
we have magnificent church edifices in the country places 
and in every town and hamlet. Instead of the class meetings 
and Camp Meetings : we have our Epworth Leagues and 
Chautauquas and Tent meetings. And instead of the Hal- 
lelujahs of the olden days, Ave have the Quiet Hour. But 
God is the same, and those who earnestly seek after Him can 
come into vital union with Him. 

It is not necessary for me to say to this audience that the 
first Annual Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
in America was held at Green Hills, near Louisburg, in 
Xorth Carolina. That has been claimed and published to 
the world for several years, and yet we find some occasionally 
who contradict this claim. But I think this is due to the 
fact that they do not make the distinction between a society 
and a church. The first Conference of the Methodist Society 
was held in Philadelphia. The first conference of the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church was held in Xorth Carolina. 

Let us peep into the upper room where this conference was 
held. There were only about twenty present, but some of 
these had come for hundreds of miles on horseback. Green 
Hills entertained the most of them, spreading beds on the 
fioor at night upon which they slept. Bishop Asbury, since 

28 Historical Paeees 

the meeting of the Christmas Conference in Baltimore, had 
gone as far south as Charleston, and had returned. Doctor 
Coke had gone as far north as New York, and returning 
reached Green Hills on April 19th. One of the most prom- 
inent figures at this conference was Jesse Lee- He and 
Doctor Coke engaged in a very heated debate on the subject' 
of slavery. Financial matters claimed but little of their 
time. They had a passion for souls, and God blessed their 
labors. Contrast in your mind tonight this first Conference 
in North Carolina with the one that will open here tomorrow 
morning. Instead of coming on horseback, exposed to all 
kinds of weather, the members will come in perfect comfort 
from every direction, at the rate of thirty or forty miles an 
hour. Time has made numerous changes, and we should be 
thankful for many of them. And as we think of the begin- 
nings of Methodism in Xorth Carolina, and what it required 
to plant it here, the hardships endured, the persecutions met, 
and the earnest and constant toil, our hearts should swell with 
gratitude; for we do owe a debt of gratitude that we can 
never pay. The harvest we are reaping today is the result of 
a faithful and wise sowing. The object of this society 
is to commemorate memories which are worthy of being sung 
to the generations through all the ages to come. 

But this brings me to the practical part of my remarks. 
What are we doing to preserve the records of lives and 
heroic deeds \ How many preachers during the past year 
have dug up something of the dead past and have presented 
it for our instruction and inspiration ? It may have been 
some valuable manuscript, some rare book or pamphlet, any- 
thing that will tell us what the pioneers did, or how they 
wrought in order to bring about such glorious results. If I un- 
derstand the object of this society, it is not merely to pay our 
dues, and attend its annual meeting; but it is also to culti- 
vate the historical instinct, if I may use that term, and to 
gather up the sources of our history wherever we go. Our 
appreciation for historical facts should be cultivated. This 

First Things in Methodism 29 

is an age of commercialism. Our thought is so wrapt up in 
business, in the aSairs of the present, that the danger is that 
we mar not only neglect to think of the past, but to give the 
proper thought co the great future. We are to be congrat- 
ulated that the South has taken on new life in the industrial 
and commercial world ; but if these things are to get between 
us and the real world and real things, it would have been 
better for us to have remained the conservative Old South of 
other years. It is our business to gather up the life forces from 
the history of the past, from the lives of our great men, and 
mould them into a greater life, to be used for greater achieve- 
ments in the present, and for a brighter glory in the great 

But in order to get anything out of the past, we must read 
its history; but how can we read a history that has never 
been written I And here is the work of this society. It is to 
gather up the scattered materials and write the history of 
Methodism, so that the generations to come may read our 
history, and get out of it the life forces that we have spent, 
so that their lives may be blessed and enriched thereby. 

Will you allow me to be a II tie more practical, and to talk 
very plainly and seriously to you tonight? Looking at it 
from my standpoint, it is the duty of every member of this 
society to bring up to each annual meeting some Items of his- 
tory. You may have to beg your way into some old garret 
to get them, but get them. They are being destroyed every 
day. And we can never have a complete history as a church 
without the data. 

The finest collection of Methodist history I ever saw was 
collected by the Historical Society of the Baltimore Confer- 
ence, but they had been collecting for over half a century. 
There has been a Historical Society in the South Carolina 
Conference for over fifty years, and they have a line collec- 
tion. And every Conference ought to have a historical society 
and a tire-proof vault for its archives. I congratulate you 
upon having a society in this Conference. It is needed. Did 

30 Historical Papers 

you know rhat every denomination in North Carolina was 
far ahead of Methodism in preserving and .writing its his- 
tory I Methodism is not usually behind, and it is with some 
shame that we make this confession. Not only that, but 
every Conference in Southern Methodism has done more in 
preserving and writing its history than the two conferences 
in North Carolina, if you take into consideration the time 
of entering the territory. 

I want to call your attention to another matter of vast 
importance. At the Quarterly Conference the Church Reg- 
ister and Records of Church Conferences are called for, ex- 
amined and criticized. At the Annual Conference the Dis- 
trict Conference Records are examined and criticized, but 
after so much care has been exercised in seeing that thy are 
proprly recorded, after the books are filled, do you ever hear 
of them again \ As a church, we have been taking no further 
notice of them. "Where are the old Records of seventy-five or 
a hundred years ago \ How many can you find over fifty 
years old \ How many can you find fifty years from now, of 
those you are now filling \ If we do not change our method 
of preserving them, the number will be few. What has be- 
come of our Records in the past I Where are they ? The 
faithful Recording Steward keeps them and prizes them 
highly until his death, and then frequently they fall into 
godless hands, and are destroyed. 

Xow, it is the business of this society to gather up these 
Records and send them to your archive. There are some old 
Records scattered over this Conference now, that are prized 
very highly by those who hold them ; so much so that if a 
historian desires to consult them he must pay his way for a 
hundred or two hundred miles before he can examine them. 
These Records belong to this society, and should be here, 
where they are accessible to any historian. I repeat it, it is 
your business to get them. And if this society should do 
nothing more than to gather up the Quarterly Conference 

Fisst Things in Methodism 31 

Records and preserve them to the church, it will have accom- 
plished a great work. 

But while collecting these there is much more that you 
can obtain. There are papers, manuscripts, books, pam- 
phlets, and many other things that would throw light on the 
history of our church that should be preserved. Do not think 
that because a thing is not a hundred years old it is of no 
value. Any fact concerning a Methodist church, a preacher 
or layman, is important and will be of value to a historian. 

You may ask, How t can we get our people interested in this 
work \ That is a very practical question, and in trying to 
answer it I will make one or two suggestions, for we all know 
that we need a historical revival, and especially in our 
church. On circuits I would suggest that you hold a service 
— you can call it Memorial Day, or Historical Celebration, 
or anything you wish, — in which a sketch of each church 
should, be read and memoirs of all the deceased members who 
were active workers in the church; then let the pastor, or 
some suitable person, deliver an address on some phase of 
Methodism, and you will find that your people will go home 
loving their church more, and with a stronger resolution to 
follow their ancestors toward the home of the blest as they 
followed Christ. Then collect these papers, and send 
them or bring them to this society, and in that way you will 
gather much valuable material, and besides have a very inter- 
esting and profitable service for your people. 

Another suggestion: In the towns and cities and other 
places where you have an Epworth League, have it take up 
tfie Htmlv of Methodist history in Korth Carolina. Let the 
entire League read up on a certain period or subject, while 
ane of the members prepares a paper on the same subject to 
m read at the next meeting. In this way. you will find that 
y<m r Leagues will soon become greatry interested, not only 
ia their meetings, but in other departments of church work. 
* know of nothing that will do our young people so much 
good as that of coming in contact with the spirit and heroism 

32 Historical Papers 

and self-sacrifice of the early pioneers of Methodism in 
North Carolina. 

Not only will it do our young people good to go back into 
the past and study the men. and means, and economy of early 
Methodism, but it will be an inspiration to all of our people. 
I know that there is an idea among some people that the pio-' 
neers of Methodism were ignorant and with no education. 
But if you will study their lives and their work, you will find 
that that is not the case. Xo ignorant class of men could 
have created such a stir, and called forth such a storm of per- 
secution as they did. Their opponents not only talked and 
preached against Methodism, trying to bring it into dis- 
repute, but the strongest men in some denominations took up 
their pens and wielded them against this new sect that was 
turning the world upside down. 

It is very difficult to make a complete bibliography on any 
subject. But I have one. published in 1868, that contains 
titles of 301 anti-Methodistical works. Do you think they 
would have written all these volumes to counteract a move- 
ment of a set of ignorant men \ Whether ignorant or not. 
they had a power that swayed the multitude, and that resulted 
in experiences that were new and strange to the people of 
North Carolina. For the genuine Methodist preacher has 
had a power in this State ever since Joseph Pilmoor first 
penetrated the wilds of eastern Carolina. Many of them 
have labored here and gone; in fact, most of them have 
passed over the River ; but may the men who fill their places 
today in the old North Carolina Conference have this power 
that was peculiar to the early Methodist preacher greatly 
multiplied in their ministry during the year 1909 ! 




For many years prior to and during the great Civil War, 
Reverend Peter Doub was a familiar figure to a great com- 
pany in Xorth Carolina. In stature more than six feet, of 
portly build, with massive chest and broad shoulders upon 
which rested a head of unusual proportions, he moved in a 
commanding way among his followers. The deep-set, greyish- 
blue eyes, lofty forehead, heavy brow, prominent nose, high 
cheek-bones, firm-set lips, decided chin and heavy jaw, gave 
distinction to his strong, thoughtful face. The strength of 
the hills had gone into him, securing the sturdy character 
with determined purpose written in each ligament of his face 
and displayed in every movement of his body. Though not 
an Apollo in feature or in form, in no crowd did he pass un- 
noticed. Something of the Fatherland clung to him and the 
simplicity of pioneer days had not deserted this itinerant son 
of the soil. The German blood, the American environment 
and the ^Methodist itinerancy combined to make the Peter 
Doub of the 'fifties. A daughter-in-law, 1 close to him in his 
latter years, says : ''His habits of life were methodical — 
even to the putting on of his wearing apparel — his collar 
must allow both hands to pass easily between it and his 
throat — his 'neck-cloth' was a bit of soft muslin made and 
laundered by the good wife — his stocking, knitted of home- 
spun Max by the same untiring help-meet must reach above 
the knee and the upper part turn down over the calves. A 
pair of his stockings are still in my possession, also one of 
his collars. He ate very lightly at all times, eliminating 
batter from his fare altogether. Once he said to me, k I could 
<-at everything on your supper table if I did not know that a 
big man should not indulge a big appetite.' " 

Peter Doub belonged to the strong, solid, sturdy stock 

• AridreftM before the North Carolina Conference Historical Society, 1908. 
Mi.-an Duty Doub in letter to writer. 

34 Historical Papers 

from the old lands that have furnished the blood and bone for 
the industrial, civil and religious upbuilding of this great, 
new country. Into our own State have come the hardy Scot, 
the resolute English, the patient, plodding German, and the 
thrifty Dutch. Among those none were superior to the sub- 
stantial German folk that moved down from Pennsylvania 
and settled chiefly in the valley of the Yadkin. These, under 
stress of religious persecution, immigrated from Switzerland 
and the Palatinate to Pennsylvania, halting for a time in Lan- 
caster and York along the Susquehanna. Such were John 
Doub, father, and Mary Eve Spainhour. mother, of Peter 
Doub. The father, born in Germany, March 27th, 1742, 
tarried for a few years in. Lancaster with a step-brother be- 
fore coming to Stokes (now Forsythe) County, ^Torth Caro- 
lina. The mother, born November 30th, 1755, across the 
Susquehanna in York, of Swiss parentage,, migrated with 
her people to Stokes about 1763. So here in the back woods 
of North Carolina, the two young people met and married 
about 17 SO. 

John Doub possessed all the distinctive features of a Ger- 
man, received the training belonging to the better class of 
mechanics of that day in his own land, had a practical knowl- 
edge of chemistry, and was well instructed in tanning and 
all the arts of skin-dressing. Fluent in the use of his native 
tongue, he gained a good knowledge of English after he was 
fifty years of age. His religious awakening began soon after 
coming to America / through the influence of Reverend Mr, 
Otterbein (presumably Reverend William Otterbein, founder 
of the United Brethern) but the epochal event in the house- 
hold was in 1792. Then they began receiving circuit preach- 
ers in their home, joined the Methodist Society and their 
house became the Methodist Meeting-house for years. Six 
or seven years later, John Doub received license to preach 
and was ordained Local Deacon in 1802. Devotion to his 
Lord and a desire to do good, led him to secure a fine knowl- 
edge of the Bible and of Methodist Theology. In later years, 


Peter Doub 35 

a profession of Sanctification manifested its reality by a life 
corresponding to such a profession. A citizen known for 
his piety, a father that ruled well his house, never omitting 
the morning and evening worship, a Methodist of the early 
type., a preacher clear and strong, he died October ISth, 
IS 13, in the full triumphs of the faith. 

His wife, Mary J3ve Doub, a member of the Dutch Re- 
formed Church from her fifteenth year, joined the Methodist 
Society with her husband and literally became a mother of 
the Methodists along the Yadkin. A woman of strong mind, 
deep piety, good knowledge of the Bible, cheerful disposition 
and great firmness of character, she watched and nourished 
her children, and ever stood ready to do good to others about 
her. She was much sought after by the sorrowing,, and in 
his mature years her son Peter could write: u In all her do- 
mestic relations she had few equals and it is believed she had 
no superior. 7 ' 2 

To more fully appreciate the times out of which young 
Peter Doub came, we will do well to remember the prevail- 
ing conditions in that section of the State at the close of the 
eighteenth century. There was not a railroad in all the world 
and nor a respectable highway in Xorth Carolina. The only 
outlet was hy wagon to Charleston, or to some other town of 
the seaboard. Instead of the cotton factory, the machine 
shop, and the flour mill of today were the wheel and loom 
in the home, the black smith shop by the road-side and the 
grist mill with its ponderous wheel down by the creek. These 
Were the real centers of family and community life. Schools 
were few and provokingly inadequate. The University was 
taking shape, with here and there a private high school, but 
da general educational system was known. In 1790, Eden- 
Inn, WwTkrn, Washington and Wilmington were the only 
p«*tofficeg in the State and in 1812 there was not a newspaper 
printed wrest of Raleigh. Books were few and letter postage 
i»m<»t prohibitive. To pay twenty-fire cents for a letter 

: Jn b-r obituary, 1835. 

rjy.m j .....; 

36 Historical Papees 

liable never to go in any reasonable time did not minister 
to interchange of thoughts. Thus, isolated, without schools, 
papers or books, the masses did not touch the great wide 
world's life. John and Mary Eve Doub, with their nine 
children, passed their simple-mannered, God-fearing lives 
limited largely to the purely rustic rounds of Stoke's County 

Peter Doub, the youngest of the nine children, was born 
March 12th, 1796. Early taught to respect the senior 
members of the family and to revere his parents above all 
others — their will being the supreme law in the household — 
he learned obedience to, and respect for, superiors. The family 
regulations were strict though not oppressive, demanding a 
prompt and uniform response to the established usage. Due 
deference was shown all, whether rich or poor, but the im- 
pure and wicked were not allowed to become associates of the 
children. Ministers of the Gospel, always received as ser- 
vants of God, and good men generally had first place in. John 
Doub's home. Young Peter early received instruction and 
inspiration from the Methodist itinerants, such as Phillip 
Bruce, John Buxton., Thomas Logan and James Boyd, who 
often found a welcome under that roof. The impressions, 
views of truth, and knowledge of the Scriptures gained in 
those days filled all his after life. 

Peter Doub, within a period of eight years, spent about 
eighteen months in school, progressing sufficiently to "read, 
write and cipher" a little. A dictionary and an. English 
grammar had small place in the "old field school'' of that day. 
In his own words : "A good English education he never had 
the opportunity of securing until after he had entered the 
ministry, and then only as he could snatch up a little time 
between traveling, preaching., visiting the flock and reading 
his Bible.*' 

Too much, however, must not be made of this lack of edu- 
cation, since influences momentous in determining destiny 
came to him in youth. In addition to the instruction and in- 

Peter Doub 37 

spiration received from the Godly itinerants in his father's 
home, was the school in the family. To learn and recite to 
his father or to one of his older brothers * ; A Scripture Cate- 
chism" until he knew every word of it and then to repeat this 
to the preacher when he came round, proved valuable to the 
boy. Furthermore, he was required to give his views of the 
contents in his own language. Wonderful ideas of God, 
Christ, and the Holy Ghost came to him in these plastic days. 
John Doub, also., saw that his children read the Xew Testa- 
ment consecutively and that during the reading they gave 
their views on various subjects. 

Though religion and the Bible came first in that home, 
other elements contributed to mental and moral advance. The 
oldest brother, John, acquainted with general knowledge, 
had read a few books on Philosophy, sufficient to set up the 
interrogation point, which resulted in converting the family 
group into a kind of debating club. The conversation in the 
home and the necessity of being man of all work on the farm 
and around his father's tan-yard gave a training too often 
lost sight of in the general estimate of life's formative forces. 
One in touch with mother-earth, responding to the call of the 
field, holding fellowship with plain men and women away 
from the artificiality of the world, has no mean start in life. 
Peter Doub's never having seen an English grammar until a 
member of the Conference, proves to many the possibility of 
much coming from nothing. How false such a notion ! The 
vigorous body, insatiable desire to know, instruction given at 
home, tutorage received in the school of life, reinforced by 
the strength and vigor of a good heritage, gave the young 
preacher a superior advantage in his long, honorable career. 
In him were the elements out of which greatness is born 
and riie fibre fit for making a hero in an iron age. 

Like Paul, Peter Doub's conversion confronted him at 
"very turn and held priority over all the events of his life. 
Being the in-piration of his after years, he thought of it 
much and worked out the related incidents leading up to the 

38 Historical Papers 

final surrender. In his seventh year, 1802, at the first reg- 
ularly arranged camp-meeting ever held in ISForth Carolina — 
this on his father's farm — he was powerfully impressed but 
nothing came of it more than the feeling that one day he 
would he a preacher,, for the spirit of those times did not en- 
courage one so young. All did not go, however, with the 
passing of youth. For years, preaching, conversation with 
preachers, reading the scriptures and a volume of sermons, 
presented by Reverend Joseph Brown, which brought "awful 
and alarming convictions/' 7 left him deeply wounded in heart. 
But the immediate cause of his conversion was a sermon 
preached October 5th, 18l7„ at a camp-meeting in Rowan 
(now Davie) County, by Reverend Edward Cannon from 
Revelation 11 :9. His portrayal of the great multitude which 
no man could number produced such indescribable longings 
within a burdened soul that, with tears flowing freely, at the 
suggestion of Hoses Brock, young Peter fell at the altar and 
struggled till night with no relief. But he did not give up the 
struggle. Following the sermon Monday morning, about ten 
o'clock, feeling that he was literally sinking alive into hell 
the thought came, "'Well, if I sink to rise no more I will try 
to look up once more as it cannot make my condition worse.' ' 
He did so. Then and there, amid the groans of the penitents 
and the shouts of the redeemed,, he arose and proclaimed his 
full deliverance. For the space of two hours or more, he 
alternately shouted, exhorted the congregation, and en- 
couraged the penitents. That glorious hour and memorable 
scene lived with him evermore. 

Ten days later, he joined the church at Doub's, a regular 
preaching- place on the Yadkin Circuit since 1792. Soon 
the long-gone impression of boyhood days came with new 
vigor, causing anxious moments by day and restless hours 
by night until the urgent conviction that he must preach the 
gospel held him fast. The lack of education, insufficient 
knowledge of the Scripture, lofty views of the ministry and 
the fear of beina< mistaken as to the Divine call constrained 

Petee Dceb 30 

hirn to continue the -farming in which he and his brother 
were jointly engaged. But other council prevailed. After 
consulting his Presiding Elder, .Reverend Edward Cannon, 
he was licensed to preach and was recommended for ad- 
mission into the Annual Conference. That same evening 
hour in, the Doub home, the Presiding Elder announced to 
the astonishment of the family that he was going to take 
Peter with him. "Brother Cannon/ 7 said the mother, k, he 
is too ignorant — he don't know anything about preaching. 
Hje is my youngest child and I did hope he might be with me 
in my old age, but if you think the Lord has a work for him 
to do I can and will give him up.'' All eyes overflowed with 
tears. Peter was to be a preacher. Yes, the youngest boy 
was going out to be a Methodist itinerant ! An hour of con- 
flicting emotions in the home and an epochal event in the 
youngest boy's life met that night. Surely God was in this 
place and they knew it not. 

Not yet a probationer in the church five months, Peter 
Doub was received on trial in the Virginia Conference at 
Norfolk, February 1818. With Christopher S. Mooring, he 
was appointed junior preacher on the Haw Biver Circuit, 
reaching his first appointment in April. His second year 
was on Culpeper Circuit, Virginia. Two years in the 
regular work, with the vows of a deacon upon him, being 
ordained by Bishop George in Bichmond, February 1820, 
eliminated all former intentions to retire from the itinerancy 
and secured an entire surrender to the work of the ministry. 
At Xew Bern, March the 24th» 1822, Bishop George ordained 
him Elder. This, with his happy marriage, August 17th, 
1821, to Miss Elizabeth Brantley of Chatham County, Xorth 
Carolina, put him well into his notable career of fifty-one 
years. Of these, twenty-one were spent on circuits ; twenty- 
one on districts ; four on stations ; one in regaining his health ; 
one as temperance lecturer; three as Professor of Biblical 
Literature in Trinity College. 

Many large and laborious fields engaged the strength and 

40 Historical Papers 

tested the devotion of this mighty man. His first circuit 
had twenty-seven appointments to be met every four weeks ; 
his second circuit, fourteen to be filled every three weeks. 
The four years on 'the Yadkin District, beginning with his 
ninth year in the ministry, were abundant in labors and 
among the happiest of his life. "This district embraced 
Granville, Orange, Person, Chatham, Alamance. Caswell, 
Rockingham,, Guilford, Stokes, Forsythe, Surry, Yadkin, 
Wilkes, Alexander, Iredell, Rowan, Davie, Davidson, parts 
of Randolph, Montgomery and Warren in Xorth Carolina; 
Hjalifax, Pittsylvania,, Franklin, Henry, and Patrick in Vir- 
ginia. In four years, he traversed this territory about 
twenty times; preached on an average of fifty times each 
round, besides delivering 'many exhortations and addresses ;' 
held one hundred and forty-four Quarterly Conferences, fifty 
camp-meetings, and attended the General Conference in 
Pittsburg, Pa. One year, he held sixteen camp-meetings in 
as many weeks, and preached at each from four to seven 
times. While on his way to one of these his horse died but 
he made the balance of his way on foot in good time. Dur- 
ing these four years., two thousand seven hundred and thirty- 
eight souls were converted at meetings which he held in per- 
son. More than seven thousand were converted in the dis- 
trict^ 3 

A few incidents 4 illustrate the overwhelming power of 
this man at his best. At a camp-meeting in. Henry County, 
Virginia, (1826) more than eighty souls were converted, 
anions these five infidels durinjr the eleven o'clock sermon 
on Sunday. In September of the same year, at a camp-meet- 
ing in Montgomery County, North. Carolina, where he 
preached five or six times and exhorted from one to three 
times a day, one hundred and eighty were converted and the 
work spread to adjoining counties. During the year 1820, on 
Haw River Circuit, one thousand souls were converted, one 

3 M. 8. Wood in "Contennial of Methodism." 
* Idem. 

Petee Doub 11 

hundred and fifty were received into the Methodist Church, 
and Methodism was introduced into the town of Hillsboro. 
Following the longest sermon he ever preached — four hours 
and fifteen minutes — at Lowe's Church, Rockingham County, 
(1830) there were fifty-two conversions. At a camp-meeting 
in Guilford, following a sermon of four hours, eighty came 
to the altar at the first call. These incidents are enough to 
indicate the type of man he was. But a crowd and victory 
did not always follow his footsteps. Day after day, from 
place to place on his circuits did he go preaching with ' ; very 
little liberty*' to a few souls after which he would meet the 
class and press on to the next appointment. Sometimes he 
had "tolerable liberty" and *'a feeling time'* conscious of 
God's smiles : then again, depressed in spirit with "difficul- 
ties innumerable.'' he longed for the clouds to roll away. Still 
he did not surrender. Without reserve, the battle was pressed 
to the gates. 5 In a letter to Eeverend William Conipton, 
Stantonburg, Xorth Carolina. October 31st, 1821, telling of 
the great victories won, are these words : ''I have labored 
until I am almost broke down, though my weakness is chiefly 
occasioned by cold. On Friday afternoon,, at the camp-meet- 
ing and the fore part of the night, I was almost at the gate 
of death but the Lord in. mercy raised me again, but since 
that time my health has been bad. I have not seen a well 
hour since the 12th inst. and I am sometimes inclined to 
think unless I could stop and rest a week or two that I shall 

entirely break down. I have a very severe cough 

which has reduced me very much, perhaps twenty pounds 
weight since I was first takened but bless the Lord I still feel 
the traveling spirit and feel determined to go on long as I 
can get along.'' Save the year 1847 in which he was forced 
to desist because of broken health, a half century of unremit- 
ting toil marked his career. During the year given to tem- 
perance work he preached fifty-one times on Sabbath, can- 
vassed must of the State, and lectured two or three times a 

* Brt€f Account, manuscript. 

42 Historical Papers 

week; tins, too, at a time (1853) when a temperance lecturer 
did not ride a popular wave. Intervals between Quarterly 
Conferences were spent in preaching, administering the ordi- 
nances and giving expositions of church government. In the 
three years spent on the Danville District, he visited and 
preached at nearly every church within its bounds. Often 
elaborate doctrinal discussions became necessary in these 
militant days of a pioneer church. .While on the Pittsylvania 
Circuit he preached on controversal subjects at all the ap- 
pointments, winning men to Christ by these sermons. So 
much of the experimental entered into these discussions that 
the Christ was ever to the front. Thus, preaching the word 
with apostolic zeal, through weariness and in the face of 
stout opposition, this brave soul carried the gospel to a heroic 
people of pioneer days. 

Peter Doub grew in wisdom and increased in usefulness 
with every passing decade. The humiliating failure made 
in an exhortation soon after being licensed to preach taught 
him the need of the best preparation possible, supported by 
a determined purpose with full reliance on God. In the 
first year of his ministry some objected to his preaching be- 
cause his sermons were too short On being informed of this 
by Reverend Christopher Mooring, young Doub affirmed 
that he said all he knew and did not like to repeat ; to which 
his senior replied: "Brother Doub, read more,, study more, 
pray more, and you will be able to preach more.'' Aroused 
by these words, he became a life-long student. "This ad- 
vice,'' says he, "laid the foundation of that eager fondness 
for books and reading that characterized him for more than 
fifty years." The next year Clark's Commentaries gave a 
new impulse to Bible study, becoming the basis of his ex- 
tensive knowledge of the Scriptures. Relieved of district 
work at his own request in 1830, the eight subsequent years 
on circuits were filled with a study of the Bible, with general 
reading,, attention to ecclesiastical history, and preaching on 

Peter Doub 43 

doctrinal subjects, laying special stress on holiness of heart 
and life. 

The bent of mind disclosed in the young preacher's first 
sermon, on "The Unity of God/' continued through the years, 
resulting in the old preacher full of wisdom, possessed of a 
marvelously clear and accurate knowledge of the Bible. Rev- 
erend F. D. Swindell, a student of his at Trinity, was most 
impressed with his clear thinking and his extensive knowl- 
edge of the Bible. 6 Reverend W. H. Moore, acquainted with 
him in the 'sixties, says he was esteemed the best theologian in 
the North Carolina Conference. 7 Reverend J. W. Wheeler, 
once in Dr. Doub's district, writes: "He was an able ex- 
pounder of the word and a fearless and mighty defender of 
the doctrines and policy of the church of his choice. 7 '' 8 Peter 
Doub was mighty in the Scriptures. 

Bible themes and theological discussions held a steadily 
increasing fascination for this seeker after God. Ethical in 
temperament and bound by intellectual process, he did not go 
far afield in other spheres of life and thought. The poetical 
the aesthetic made slight appeal to him. In the multitude 
of his days, surrounded by earth and sky of ever changing 
mood, in sunshine and storm, never a reference is made to the 
gorgeous pageantry of nature or to earth in her calmer 
aspects. The timid thrush in deep wood, the blue-bird, har- 
binger of spring, the early flowers, the smell after the summer 
rain, the scarlet and gold of autumn brought no new, strange 
sensations to his soul. Verdant fields in the softness of sum- 
mer evenings and starlit skies free from the fever of earth's 
grime passed unnoticed by one so given to the practical, the 
doctrinal, the ethical. The fine feelings and delicate emo- 
tion- of poet and artist did not belong to a mind so fond of 
abstractions and so lost in the syllogism. Granted his major 
and minor premises the inevitable conclusions came with the 
mandatory exactness of mathematical demonstration. In 

* Utter to writer. 

• Itl.«m. 

44 Historical Papers 

this way he built up those elaborate doctrinal discussions, 

Scripture quotations constituting his major premise. Lost 
in the process, he followed these out into all the minutiae of 
their bearings. u We knew/' says his daughter-in-law, *'he 
was not to be interrupted in his studies for any ordinary oc- 
currence — the extraordinary one of a visit from his only' 
daughter caused him to say, 'I wish her arrival had been de- 
layed an hour. I was in the midst of an argument' ' Those 
wonderful sermons of such length were really treatises on 
systematic theology worked out in careful detail. Xot being 
willing to omit minor points, the hours passed in their de- 
livery until effectiveness would have been lost but for his 
own Pauline experience that gave them vitality and con- 
quering power. Xo phase of a subject was allowed to pass 
unnoticed. 9 "Once after preaching two and one-half hours, 
he quietly informed his hearers that he would continue the 
subject at the evening service and on some future day, after 
sifting the subject more thoroughly, he hoped to preach a 
third sermon on the same topic." 

Peter Doub's love of truth possessed his soul and became 
the ruling passion of his life. Xothing other than the love 
of truth and his well known demand that justice be done, 
coupled with an unyielding sense of fairness, led to the many 
controversies in which he engaged. At the close of a four 
month's controversy in the Patriot with the Presbyterians of 
Greensboro in 1831, he writes, "I am conscious that truth 
and nothing but the truth has been my object from the be- 
ginning." 1 ''' In the convention of 1835, Judge Gaston, 11 in 
the supreme effort of his life, speaking of the amendment of 
Article 32 of the Constitution of Xorth Carolina for remov- 
ing the restriction upon Roman Catholics in the religious 
qualification for office, was reported to have made false state- 
ments concerning Protestants. To this Peter Doub intended to 
make reply as soon as a copy of the speech could be secured. 

* Letter from Susan Duty Doub to writer. 

10 Brief Account, manuscript. 

11 Letter to Michael Doub, July 31. 1835. 

Peter Doub 45 

In 1840 a Mormon Elder 12 began work in Greensboro. He 
boasted of a controversy at Wolf's School House with Mi- 
chael Doub, whom he soon silenced. He also reported that said 
Michael Doub, once vanquished, threatened to send for his 
brother Peter who could manage him. This, with the error 
being propagated, was too much for our defender of truth 
and lover of fair play. He at once wrote Michael for ail the 
facts, supported by competent and reliable testimony, con- 
nected with "Mr. Grant, the Mormonite." and made ready 
for the fight. When Bishop Ives of Xorth Carolina (who fin- 
ally went to Catholicism) published a small volume of ser- 
mons in which he took high grounds on Episcopal Baptismal 
Regeneration, Auricular Confession and kindred subjects, he 
reviewed (1845) these sermons in the Eichmond Christian 
Advocate, and finally re-wrote the series to be put in pam- 
phlet form. This, however, was never done, but a series of 
Discourses on Christian Communion and Baptism delivered 
in Raleigh in reply to a Baptist minister of the same city 
was published in 1S54, Beginning May 30ih, 1556, he pub- 
lished in the Xo?ih Carolina Christian Advocate a series en- 
titled : " Doctrine of the Final Unconditional Perserverance 
of the Saints Considered and Refuted." 14 These examples are 
sufficient to indicate the range of controversy engaging the 
attention of this doughty warrior and champion of truth. 

Thorough investigation of the subject in hand, careful 
handling of facts, elaborate discussion of detail, and accurate 
use of terms made this lover of truth, righteousness, and jus- 
tice a formidable antagonist. He feared nothing. "'Attacked 
by a most ferocious dog, he looked at him straight and asked, 
'Are you not ashamed to want to bite a poor Methodist 
preacher V The brute dropped his bristles, licked the preach- 
ers hands and walked by his side till he reached the farm- 
house door, much to the consternation of the family 
within. ,<i5 

-' Letter to Michael Doub, Feb. 21, 1840. 
" Utter to Michael Doub. Oct. 5. 1840. 
"Advocate ti!es. 
"Letter from Susan Duty Doub to writer. 


46 Historical Papers 

A like cairn, brave spirit contained him in every arena. 

Peter Doub could have led to victory the Roundheads 
under Oliver Cromwell or have gone to death with William of 
Orange in the Low Country. A lover of peace, but not of 
peace at any price, was he. Of one who had seriously. 
wronged him, he wrote. " I was willing even (for peace's 
sake) rather to suffer wrong than to stir up strife in the 
neighborhood,'' and then finally concludes: " I consider that 
he injured me much; yet, if he will acknowledge his error, 
and inform me. I now feel it in my heart to freely, truly 
and fully forgive all the wrong that has been done me by 
him." 16 To doubt the veracity (which the offender did) of 
this man of God so crossed his love of truth and sense of 
righteousness that he demanded justice in truth "without 
varying a hair's breadth." He lived in the open and demand- 
ed of his fellows that they walk in. die light of day. 

Something of the Puritan spirit belonged to the family 
and the instinct of the clan was not wholly wanting. In a 
contemplated business venture, Peter wrote his brother Mi- 
chael, "I have no particular objection to forming a company 
of twelve or thirteen ; provided, that they are all Dofbs, or, 
at least, under our family's control. We should be very 
cautious, so we may not suffer anyone to become connected 
with the company that is intemperate, or of a vacilating 
spirit, or easily disappointed. 7 ' 17 A fine devotion to his tribe 
and the desire to prove a blessing to those of his father's 
household resulted in Peter Doub leading several of the fam- 
ily to Christ and two of his brothers into the local ministry. 
While busy on his itinerant rounds, letters went pleading 
the cause of religion and urging- the Christian life upon his 
brothers at the old home. 18 Michael, a substantial citizen and 
trusted with settling estates and matters of moment in the 
community life, became for more than fifty years a most use- 
ful local preacher. To quote from his memoir: "His services 

"Letter to Michael Doub March S, 1840. 
17 Letter to Michael Doub, Dec. 4, 183:). 
"Letters in 1821. 

Peter Doub 47 

were much, in demand and he went far and near to regular 
appointments, camp-meetings and funeral occasions. He 
preached two thousand four hundred and fifty sermons, six 
hundred and seventy-five of which were fimerai services. He 
baptised seven hundred and thirty-three persons, adults and 
infants, and traveled in the prosecution, of his ministerial 
work some thirty thousand miles. He was called to visit an 
almost unaccountable number of sick people and he went 
gladly by day and by night irrespective of color or creed, 
riches or poverty. , . . He labored much in the revivals 
by which Methodism was spread over this portion of the 
State." 19 

To the substantial folk of his own name and to the plain 
men and women of the country-side, Peter Doub, 
scion of a hardy race, ever remained true in sympathy and in 
fellowship, therein gaining qualification for a ministry to the 
masses of his day. Then the thousands of Carolina's chil- 
dren knew little of the gentle life and lived less in the face 
of the world, but rather grew up in rude simplicity and spent 
a free, simple, unconventional life. To these, such a plain 
old prophet of the Elijah type was indeed a man sent from 
God to bear witness to the Truth that many might be saved. 

Ever true and trusted by his brethren, with a commanding 
place in his own Conference, honors not a few came to him. 
Seven times a member of the General Conference, one of the 
delegates to the Louisville Convention (1845), in which he 
suggested the name Methodist Episcopal Churchy South, for 
the southern division of our Methodism, granted the degree 
<>i 1). D. by Xormal College in 1S55, acknowledged the best 
theologian in his Conference, he remained the plain unassum- 
ing and unambitious Methodist preacher whose clear, strong 
voice proved most regnant in calling sinners to repentance 
around the camp-rires in the golden age of camp-meeting vic- 
tories. For, beyond all peradventure, Reverend Peter Doub 
Wttg primarily and preeminently a preacher of the Gospel 



48 Historical Papers 

for the great plain people in a day of religious controversy 
and social agitation. Revolutionary movements were on. In 
the decade of the thirties, the application of steam to ocean 
navigation, the introduction, of railroads, and the invention 
of the electric telegraph were of world-wide import destined 
to work the greatest revolution of the century. The slavery 
agitation stirred the nation and the ominous shadows were 
gathering ; but these failed to enlist the interest of a man so 
given to matters theological and religious. All his controver- 
sies gathered about doctrinal themes. Though interested for 
twenty-five years in a farm, at one time contemplating mer- 
chandising 20 and for a while making a venture in silk culture, 
these things did not divert him from the one work ever para- 
mount. Put Peter Boub out in the forest on a summer night 
under an arbor, surrounded by camp-fires, with a host of 
eager men and women seated on rude benches listening to 
some great Gospel theme, a second Pentecost was imminent. 
As his soul flamed, it seemed that the divine spirits had come 
down to speak to men. Some said it thundered, others, that 
an angel had spoken to them. 

The sturdy old hero ceased to labor August 24th, 1869. 
The giant form went down but the measure of his days can- 
not mark the limit- of that life. It has gone out to the ends 
of the earth. A pamphlet of his on Baptism and the Corn^ 
munion made Enoch ATarvin, the preacher and saint, a 
Methodist. He said in North Carolina in 1875, when he was 
Bishop, " I did not know who Peter Doub was. I had never 
heard of him before. Put that pamphlet forever settled my 
doubts on that question.*' 21 

From the rugged untutored young circuit-rider, unable to 
write a correct sentence, came this father of Israel. 22 His 
form of expression and order of thought improved with the 
steady growth of half a century. Though he wrote a great 
deal, an elastic and easy style never came to him. Unwiliing- 


21 Centennial of M«-rhf<1ism. 

^Letters Sept. 12, 1839, and Jan. 11, 1841. Letter June 25, 1832. 

Peter Doub 49 

ness to minor points and less essential matter often led to 
tediousness in the discussions drawn out to an undue length. 
His arguments must be elaborate and complete. Moved by a 
stern sense of duty and being exacting in the cause of right- 
eousness, with a fondness for the arena when error vaunted 
itself, one might look for a hard man with little of the ten- ' 
derer and gentler elements of life. But not so. Says one 
already quoted: " He was tender as a mother — even the fam- 
ily pets shared his kindness. The kitten would sleep in his 
lap and bunny squirrel seek a warm place in the flap of his 
coat. After some of his great sermons; he would come into 
the home and play with the children like a boy. 'Fine relax- 
ation/ he would say. 'and they enjoy it so.' " 23 Such was the 
sturdy old itinerant of those heroic days. 

Deeds of daring and acts of heroism are told in song and 
story. Granite, marble and bronze commemorate the achieve- 
ments of earth's chieftains ; but this noble old Methodist 
itinerant shares none of these. In South Greensboro, one 
September day, the clouds dropped rain as beneath the oaks, 
through weeds and undergrowth, I went among the tombs in 
search of his resting place. How neglected the spot where 
sleeps the dust of this noble man — once honored and revered ! 
How well that no good deed ever utterly perishes from the 
earth ! But let us not linger at that spot. Rather than bewail 
the neglect or bemoan the forgetfulness, we would recall his 
last message to the Xorth Carolina Conference : " Tell my 
brethren of the Conference*' ' said he to Doctor Fletcher Reid, 
the day before he died, u that if I am alive I am working my 
way to the skies, if I am dead, I am alive." 24 

Authorities: Autobiography of Peter Doub (Manu- 
script Copy of the original) : 

A brief Account of my parentage, education, conversion, 
call to the ministry, etc (Manuscript). 

"Suwan Duty Doub. 

"Obituary by Rev. W. Barring^r. 


50 Historical Papers 

Discourses on Christian Communion and Baptism, by Rev. 
Peter Doub (185±). 

Rev. A. W. Mangum and M. L. Wood in Centennial of 
Methodism in Xorth Carolina. 

Qrissom-s History of Methodism in Xorth Carolina. 

Letters of Peter Doub (1818-1869) ; Letters of Michael 
Doub; Memoir of Michael Doub; Obituary of Mary Eve 
Doub, by Peter Doub (all in manuscript) ; Letters from Mrs. 
Susan Duty Doub, Revs. F. D. Swindell, W. H. Moore, J. W. 
Wheeler and Prof. W. F. Alderman to M. T. Piyler. 


By Hon. L. L. Smith, Gatesville, X. 0.* 

The subject assigned me, "Methodism in the Albemarle 
Country," deserves more than a passing notice. The fact 
that this sec-iion was geographically in one state and Alethod- 
d is tie ally in another, from the origin of Methodism and 
especially from the organization of the Virginia Conference 
in 1802, until the comparatively recent transfer of this ter- 
ritory to the Xorth Carolina Conference, may have caused 
many events and incidents of Methodist history to become 
lost to view, and to be now buried more than a century-deep 
in the debris of the passing years. 

In fact, the Albemarle Country, considered in any aspect, 
is full of historic interest. It was not only here, on Roanoke 
Island, that the rim settlemenr was made, and the first 
child was born of English-speaking parents on the Amer- 
ican continent, but it was here also "in our county of Albe- 
marle," in 1663, that, in the petition from the "Grand 
Assembly praying that the inhabitants of the said county 
may hold their lands upon the same terms and conditions that 
the inhabitants of Virginia hold theirs," was seen and felt 
one of the first impulses of that spirit of liberty and 
of patriotism that developed in the colonies and finally cul- 
minated in the American revolution. 

The beautiful name, Albemarle, came to us across the 
waters from the Old World. Albamarja of the Middle Ages 
became the French Aumale and the English Albemarle. It 
was first a countship of France formed by William the Con- 
queror in the year 1070; and after the passing of centuries 
it was made a Duchy. 

After the Restoration, Charles II. granted Carolina to 
some of his personal friends and courtiers, in payment of 
political debts, and the grant of Charles I. to Sir Robert 
Heath, bv royal decree, became a nullity. Among the gran- 

• Address before the North Carolina Conference Historical Society, 1910. 


52 Historical Papers 

tees of Charles IT. — the original Lords Proprietors — was 
General George Monk. He had entered London at the head 
of an army of 50.000 men clad in the uniform of Cromwell's 
Ironsides, and, without disclosing his purpose, has restored 
the monarchy and placed Charles on the throne, and he. m v 
turn, was created the first Duke of Albemarle. That name, in 
his honor, was first given to our broad waters. Chowan River, 
by Indian nomenclature, extended perhaps to Roanoke Inlet ; 
and that part of it, now known as the Sound, was called by 
the early settlers Carolina River, but the Lords Proprietors 
named it Albemarle River, and afterwards Albemarle Sound, 
as it is known to-day. 

In the meantime the genial climate and the fertile soil 
had already begun to attract settlers from Virginia, and ad- 
venturers from other quarters, to the lands lying north of the 
Sound, and in 1656 the first permanent settlement was 
made; and in October. 1664, the Lords Proprietors formed 
Albemarle County and appointed William Drummond Gov- 
ernor. It was soon afterwards discovered that the settle- 
ments made and the county formed on the north of the 
Sound were not entirely embraced in their grant, and the 
Lords Proprietors hastened to the King for an extension of 
the grant for about thirty miles further northward, and on 
June 30. 1665. the King issued another grant or charter ex- 
tending Carolina to 36 degrees and 30 minutes north lati- 
tude, and that has ever since been the proper dividing line 
between Carolina and Virginia, but it was for a long time a 
bone of contention, and it required several surveys to locate 
the line. 

The county of Albemarle was first divided into four pre- 
cincts — Chowan. Perquimans, Pasquotank, and Currituck, 
and afterwards Bertie and Tyrrell were added. 

Those precincts lying north of the Sound and east of the 
Roanoke River covered the entire territory that was re- 
tained by the Virginia Conference, when the Xorth Carolina 
Conference was organized in 1837; and this is the Albe- 

Methodism is Albemaele 53 

marie country of which we are to treat in connection with 

But we must wait a century before we can people it with 
Methodists. It was just about 108 years after Albemarle 
County was formed before a Methodist itinerant preached v 
his Erst sermon within its borders. In the meantime other 
denominations, notably the Church of England, the Estab- 
lished Church of the Colonies, and the Quakers and Pres- 
byterians, came with the early settlers, and missionaries 
were sent over who made spasmodic efforts to evangelize 
the people ; but much of their energies was wasted 
in fighting each other and in trying to control the govern- 
ment in the name of religion, really in the interests of their 
own church or sect, and that is one reason why more progress 
was not made. 

Unfortunately, many of the missionaries sent over by the 
Church of England, with some very notable exceptions, were 
men of dissolute life and character — mere hirelings that 
eared nothing for the sheep. Let them be judged by their 
own people. 

In a letter written by William Gale, of Perquimans, in 
1009 or 1700 and quoted in Ashe's recent History of North 
Carolina (Vol. L, p. 52) occurs this passage: " The decay 
of Christian piety is in such large characters that he who 
runs may read. The 2nd of January last, it pleased God to 
make me happy in a son who bears the name of his grand- 
father, but has still the unhappiness to be unchristened to 
my great grief, the only minister we have had of the Church 
oi England having left us before my son was born, but it was 
no loss to religion, for he was ye monster of ye age." 

Dr. Hawkes asserts that the records of the courts show 
that Rev. John Ermstone, a missionary of the Church of 
England, was convicted and punished for drunkenness and 

About the time of the sale of Carolina by the Lords Propri- 
etor* to the King, in 1729, Sir Richard Everard wrote to the 

54 HiSTOEi.CAi Papers 

Bishop of London that there was not then a single clergy- 
man of the Church of England in the province "'while the 
Quakers and the Baptists were very busy making proselytes 
and holding meetings daily in all parts of the' government." 
As early as 1672 George Fox, the founder of the Quakers. 
visited the colony. He came out by way of Williamsburg 
and Sommertown (the modern Somerton just across the 
State line over in Xansemond), and proceeding as far as 
Bennett's Creek, where Gatesville now stands, left his horses 
there, took a canoe and went out to the Chowan River, thence 
down the Sound and up the Perquimans River, and found 
his way to the house of Henry Phillips, about where Hert- 
ford now stands. Phillips and his wife were then the only 
Quakers in the colony, and that was the beginning of the 
Quakers in the Albemarle country. 

The first Baptist church in this territory was organized 
in 1727, then in Pasquotank precinct, but now at Shiloh. in 
Camden County; and some few years later one was organized 
in Bertie, which then included the territory now in Xorth- 
ampton and Hertford Counties. The Baptists made some 
progress in those localities, and were the champions 
of the principle of absolute separation of Church and State. 
That was before the days of the Missionary Baptist Church, 
and there was no special eifort made to evangelize the col- 
ony outside of the localities where they had organized. 

From this time on to the period just preceding the Revolu- 
tion, there was not much change in the religious conditions 
of Albemarle. In fact, it was the period of religious apathy 
in Europe; and in England it was the darkest part of the 
night, which immediately preceded the dawn of the Wesleyan 
reformation; and until that light was reflected upon these 
shores, it is reasonable to suppose that religious conditions 
here were worse than there before that reformation. At 
intervals ministers of the Church of England were sent over 
to take the places of those who had gone, and in their absence, 
teachers and lay readers sometimes conducted services in the 

Methodism ix Aebemasle 55 

old chapels, which had been erected in the several parishes. 
But most of these old chapels had been abandoned long 
before the pioneers of Methodism had ever entered the ter- 

I mention these facts as important to show the religious 
condition of the people, and especially to emphasize the fact 
that other denominations were on the ground — some over 
fifty and some over one hundred years before ''Joseph Pil- 
inoor preached the first Methodist sermon. in the colony, at 
Currituck Court-House, on the 28th of September. 1772.' ? * 
From that time there was an occasional visit from a Meth- 
odist itinerant, but there was not much religious awakening 
until near the close of the century. 

The peculiarity of the Methodist preachers in that day 
was that they did not wait for the people to come to an ap- 
pointed place of worship, but they carried the gospel to the 
people wherever they might be found. The weary Methodist 
itinerant sometimes found rest in the Christian hospitality 
and fellowship of some good Baptist brother or Quaker 
friend. But the masses of the people were wicked and indif- 
ferent, and in high life there was but little religion. 

The files of the old State Gazette from January 10, 1794, 
to October, 1797, — a weekly newspaper published at Edenton 
(the State organ at that time; — contain only two items 
referring or appertaining in any way whatever to religion 
or to any church or religious denomination. The first of 
these is the presentment of the Quakers by grand juries 
of the several counties for agitating emancipation among 
the slaves, for harboring runaways, etc., tending to incite to 
arson and insurrection. The other item referred to is a 
notice ; 'To the Clergy and Laity of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church in the State of Xorth Carolina/' then in its formative 
period, and was a call for a convention to elect a bishop. It 
begins: ''Whereas, the declining interests of the Protestant 
Episcopal Church in this State appears to demand the most 

Oritssom's History of Methodism in N. C. t page 34. 

56 Historical Papers 

strenuous exertions of those who profess the same faith/' 
etc., and ends as follows: "As the deplorable state of religion, 
in our country seems to call for the most active exertions of 
every member of the church. Signed by order and in behalf 
of the convention — James L. Wilson. President/'' 

AsburVs Journal confirms this report as to "the deplor- 
able state of religion" at that time; but it will be noticed 
that the activity of the Methodist preachers had even then 
begun to arouse the sleeping energies of the other churches. 
On December 2-i, 1784, Asbury. after leaving Camden, per- 
haps, writes in his journal: "Set out in the rain to Hartford 
town. I spoke in a tavern; the people seemed wild and 
wicked altogether. I journeyed on through the damp 
weather, and reached Pettigrew's about 6 o'clock. 
I preached in Edenton, to a gay. inattentive people. I was 
much pleased with Mr. Pettigrew. I heard him preach, and 
received the Lord's Supper at his hands." 

This Mr. Pettigrew was Rev. Charles Pettigrew, elected 
Bishop at the convention called as above stated, but on ac- 
count of ill health was never consecrated. The old tavern in 
Hertford is still standing and ''doing business at the same 
old stand." in the same old way, and the room at the south 
end thereof was the very one in which Asbury preached on 
that occasion. 

The first Methodist Annual Conference in America of 
which there is any record was held in Philadelphia in June, 
1773, but it was not until some years later that North Car- 
olina appears in the minutes. In 1775 Norfolk, Virginia, 
was the nearest named place to the Albemarle section, and 
that circuit — (all were circuits then) — most probably em- 
braced all this seer ion, and extended even beyond the Roan- 
oke in North Carolina. For as the old North Carolina Cir- 
cuit appears and develops into Roanoke, Tar River, and 
New Hope, Norfolk disappears from the minutes, and is 
not then mentioned again for several years. But Portsmouth 
Circuit, which appear* in the minutes for the first time in 

Methodism in Albemarle 57 

1784, included all Norfolk territory that had not been given 
to new e ire nits. 

The Erst place reported in the Albemarle territory is Eden- 
ton in 1781, with sixty members. In 1783 Bertie and "Pas- 
quotank" are reported in the minutes, and in 1784 Camden 
takes the place of "Pasquetank." and from that time until 
1809 — a period of twenty-live years — Bertie and Camden 
were the only charges in this entire Albemarle country. 

Sometimes it was Camden and Edenton and sometimes 
Camden and the Banks. In 1809 Edenton again appears, 
arid at the close of the year 1810, just one hundred years 
ago. Bertie, Camden and Edenton were the only charges in 
this entire Albemarle country from the Banks to the Roanoke 
River, with five preachers and one thousand, two hundred 
and nine (1,209) white members, and six hundred and fifty 
(650) colored. By way of comparison, the same territory, 
according to the minutes of our Annual Conference for 1900, 
reported twenty-one active preachers and seven local, and 
an aggregate of nine thousand, one hundred (9,100) white 
members. In 1322 Gates and Alurfreesboro were formed, 
and for some time Gates and Edenton, and then Gates and 
Bertie, and Gates and Murfreesboro, at intervals, were con- 
nected together, usually with two preachers in charge. Eliz- 
abeth City is reported in the minutes for the first time in 
1827 with Edenton as one charge, and in 1828 it was set oil 
u^ a separate charge. 

Let us now consider some matters of historic interest con- 
nected with these old circuits. 

Within the bounds of the old colonial precinct of Bertie 
there was erected an Episcopal chapel known as Bridge 
Creek < 'hapel. There is no known record as to when it 
ceased to be ased as an Episcopal church. But. at any rate. 
h became a preaching place for the early Methodists, and 
it is to be presumed that xVsbury preached there on his sev- 
eral jniirneys through Bertie. He states in his journal that 
b" preadaed there on the 26th of April, 1785. 

*--:■ ... :*:*-*.'~l - «■' 

uM«m<»^MW£rsw?^ ; »»r ; - »-~ ;«^;\7«*^f*.?!'»r?i>wr^mBiBWK»»«w/» ■»■;*■■» 

58 Historical Papers 

That is supposed to be the place of the beginning of Meth- 
odism in Bertie. The circuit had been named for two years 
only, but it may have been included in the Carolina Circuit, 
and afterwards in Roanoke Circuit. Xear the ruins of that 
old chapel White Oak Church now stands, the oldest Metho- 
dist church perhaps in Bertie County. It was perhaps from 
the influence going out from this church that the other 
Methodist churches in Bertie were founded. 

It would be an interesting study to ascertain where the 
Methodists worshipped in some localities before the building 
of their churches. The old pioneers preached in barns, out- 
houses, on the roadside, anywhere they could find hearers, 
and the need of church buildings was not at first fully real- 
ized. There is quite an interval between the formation of 
some of the circuits and the building of their churches. 

Another place of historic interest is old Knotty Pine 
Chapel. That was connected with the Edenton Parish, as 
I am reliably informed, from 1701 until about 1740, and 
from that time all trace of its record is lost.* It was 
situated six miles north of Gatesville, on the Som- 
erton road ( Sommertown of the colonial period — just across 
the State line, over in Xansemond) and very near its exact 
site now stands a large colonial mansion erected in 1775, 
which was the home of Col. William Baker, and afterwards 
of Colonel Harvey, who married his daughter; 

There is a tradition that Asbury preached at Knotty Pine 
Chapel. He states in his journal that prior to January 1. 
1783, he passed through Gates, Hertford. Bertie, and North- 
ampton, and coming from Williamsburg, Virginia, as he 
did, and going through Gates to Hertford County, he must 
at that day necessarily have passed Knotty Pine, and he, 
doubtless, then preached in the old chapel; and either he, at 
that time, or some other Methodist preacher before then. 
organized a Methodist Society at that place. Eighteen years 
afterwards, to-wit, on the first day of April, 1801, he writes 
in his journal. u We came on to Knotty Pine to the house of 

♦Records of Edenton Parisb. 

Methodism in Albemakle 59 

mourning for a favorite sou. Marmaduke Baker was this 
day to have gone to Princeton College to finish his educa- 
tion. We hope he has gone to the college of saints and the 
society of heaven.'' 

We have other evidences tending to prove that he had 
frequently enjoyed the hospitality of that Christian 
home. A letter to him from Mrs. Baker dated 
" North Carolina, Gates County, Knotty Pine Chap- 
el, March 17, 1799," begins as follows: ''When you 
were with me last you desired I would give you an account 
of the dear saints who are fallen asleep in Jesus in this 
place. I will give you a list of their names with a sketch of 
some of their characters." She then named twenty (20), 
giving a short sketch of each, and how they died,- and closed 
as follows: "I hope the Lord will renew your health and 
strength, that you may live long to water His vineyard. Pray 
for me that I may be more holy and more heavenly minded. 
Give my love to Brother Lee. Mr. Baker and the children 
join me in sincere love to you. — Your affectionate sister. 
I. Baker.' 7 

Among those named as having died was Moses Kittrell, a 
man of affairs and a prominent citizen of the county. His 
son, George Kittrell, became a local Methodist preacher and 
the founder of Kittrell's church, now on ]S r orth Gates Cir- 
cuit, only a short distance from the site of old Knotty Pine 
Chapel, one of the oldest, and in its palmy days, one of the 
most prosperous of all the churches in Gates. Savage's 
Church, also now on Xorth Gates Circuit, was the offspring 
of the Society at Knotty Pine Chapel, and was organize;! a 
Few years before KittrelPs church was. The present church 
building at Kittrell's is the third one erected on that site. 
l!j<» descendants of many of those "dear saints who had 
fallen asleep" are now members of Kittrell's and other Meth- 
odist churches. 

In Asbury's day Knotty Pine Chapel, with all of Gates 
north of Bennett's Creek, appears to have been within the 
bounds of Bertie Circuit. 

60 Historical Papers 

But the place of greatest historical interest to Methodism 
in The Albemarle country, perhaps, is the old Camden Cir- 
cuit, which probably at one time extended from the Banks 
to the Chowan River, and from the Sound to Bennett' 5 
Creek, in Gates County. The point of beginning, however, 
gave it a local habitation and a name. It came with the 
Christmas Conference in 1784, with the founding of the 
Methodist Church in America, and other circuits may have 
come and gone, but that goes on forever. 

It was probably in Camden County, which lies on the 
Pasquotank River, where the society was organized that 
formed the basis of the "Pasquetank" Circuit of 1783, with 
James Martin and Henry Metcalf as preachers in charge; 
and the next year Camden Circuit, covering the same ter- 
ritory, was substituted for it ; and from Richard Ivey and 
William Dameron. the first ministers assigned to Camden, 
to the present time, one hundred and fifteen (115) regularly 
appointed and ordained ministers have supplied that charge, 
every one of whom labored faithfully and "kept that which 
was committed to their trust." 

On Xovember 14, 1792, a lease for ninety-nine (99) years 
was executed and recorded in Camden County — for the con- 
sideration of one grain of Indian corn to be paid annually, — 
conveying a tract or lot of land to the trustees of the Meth- 
odist Society and to the trustees of the Episcopal Church 
for the purpose of erecting a church thereon to be used 
jointly. There now stands upon that site the third building 
erected thereon, known as McBride's Church, on Camden 
Circuit. What a history that old chnrch has ! How many 
have been converted at her altars ! How many other 
churches have been established through the instrumen- 
tality of her membership! In 1S92, during the pastorate 
and by the efforts of the greatly lamented Charles R. Taylor, 
always alert to the best interests of his beloved Methodism, 
the Centennial of that old church was celebrated. About a 
mile distant a lar^e tabernacle was erected, and to thousands 

Methodism in Albemarle 61 

of hearers able discourses suitable To the occasion were de- 
livered by Dr. Peterson and Bev. George Vanderslice, then 
distinguished members of the Virginia Conference. The 
next year, Rev. Charles I). Crawley, preacher-in- charge, 
united three churches at that tabernacle in a great revival 
service, which continued two weeks and resulted in large 
accessions to all the churches. 

But we have some contemporaneous history of the early 
days of Bertie and Camden Circuits. In a letter from Jon- 
athan Jackson to Bishop Asbury. dated August 20. 1800, 
Bertie is particularly mentioned. But who was Jonathan 
Jackson? A hero of the cross! He bore the same name, 
with the exception of the prefix "Thomas" that was after- 
wards given to a child of destiny, who became the immortal 
Stonewall Jackson, and he must have been of the same heroic 
mould. He was Presiding Elder of a district extending from 
Cumberland County. Virginia, on the north, to the Albe- 
barle Sound on the south, and from the Atlantic Ocean, on 
the east, to the Roanoke River on the west, and embracing 
the following charges : Cumberland, Amelia, Brunswick, 
Sussex. Mecklenburg, Greenville, Portsmouth and Xorfolk. 
in Virginia, and Bertie and Camden, in Xorth Carolina. 

When we remember that Cumberland is away up in Vir- 
ginia, on the eastern border of historic Appomattox, and that 
his district covered all the territory from thence, including 
Petersburg and Virginia Beach, thence to the western border 
"t Mecklenburg County, in Virginia, and that Camden and 
Bertie Circuits embraced this entire Albemarle country; 
a i;d when we, at the same time, consider the hardships and 
uiiheulties and dangers of travel in that day, we are tilled 
with wonder and admiration at the cheerful, sanguine, trium- 
phant tone of his letter. Hear him: W 'I have been round the 
district, and glory be to God, I have seen very good and 
graciQUs times in all the circuits. There are prospects of a 
good revival; but in many parts of Bertie and Cumberland. 
they have great and powerful times, and. many have been 

62 Historical Papers 

awakened, converted and added to the church; I expect not 
less than two hundred. The preachers were all able to 
labor and are much engaged in the Lord's work. The local 
preachers in general seem to be very zealous and useful. We 
have great peace and union in the district. I have not 
heard a murmur from any one of our brethren.— Jonathan 

On the 16th of Setember, 1802, Jesse Lee, Presiding Elder 
of the same district, writes, among other things, as follows: 
"The work is considerable great in Bertie Circuit. There is a 
small revival in Portsmouth Circuit — Camden Circuit has 
gained a little." 

Daniel Hall. Presiding Eider of Norfolk District, Vir- 
ginia Conference, which covered about the same territory, 
on October 12, 1804, wrote to Bishop Asbury, and after 
describing a camp-meeting near Suffolk,, on Portsmouth 
Circuit, where there were 6,000 hearers and 400 conversions, 
he added: ''There was a pleasing prospect in Camden Cir- 
cuit. The work is going on gloriously in some parts of Ber- 
tie Circuit." 

What heroes these old preachers were ! They went every- 
where and carried the burden of human souls upon their 
hearts, and in thunder tones they startled the world with 
the proclamation of the verity and reality of the Gospel, and 
the certainty of death and the judgment; and, above all, 
in the name of their Lord, they offered an unlimited atone- 
ment without respect to persons. 

From this time on — about the beginning of the nineteenth 
century — there was a healthy and steady growth, manifested 
by an increase in the number of charges and membership; 
and in 1837, when the Xorth Carolina Conference was or- 
ganized, as we well know, all this Albemarle section north of 
the Sound and east of the Roanoke River, was retained by 
the Virginia Conference. 

But this territory was not neglected. The Virginia Con- 

*" Extracts of Letters containing some account of th^ work of God since 
the year 1800. Published for the Methodist connection in the United States. 
1605." p. 4. 

Methodism ix Albemaele 63 

ferenee always sent to it some of her ablest and best men, 
and from that time to the beginning of the Civil War was 
one of the moat prosperous periods of its history. 

We love to cherish the memories of those godly men of 
the days a -gone, whom we heard our fathers and mothers and 
grand-parents speak of in terms of devotion and Christian 
reverence. They still live in their name-sakes and, in many 
instances, they have left their descendants among us to en- 
rich our citizenship. We also recall with tender affection 
those who served us in our day and generation, in the period 
since the Civil War. Of all the men in our Southland, who 
bent their energies to the task of healing and repairing the 
desolations of war, none worked harder and accomplished 
more than the Methodist itinerant ; and nowhere with better 
results than in the Albemarle country. Xew churches were 
erected, and old ones repaired, and there were great revivals 
all over the district. 

In the early 'seventies old Gates Circuit, with her ten 
churches (eight in Gates and two over in Xansemond), under 
the pastorate of that man of God, Eev. Thomas L. Williams, 
of great learning and eminent piety, was the banner circuit 
of the Virginia Conference. 

But Methodism in the Albemarle country would not be 
complete without the mention of the Wesleyan Female Col- 
lege, of Murfreesboro, which, after a useful and successful 
career, was finally destroyed by fire. Her presidents and 
teachers were among the best and ablest men and women in 
Southern Methodism, and her graduates may be found all 
oyer this part of our State and in southeast Virginia; and 
no more faithful and devoted church workers can be found 
an where. Much of the success of the Woman s Missionary 
Societies, in the Elizabeth City District, may be traced to 
the influences that went out from the graduates of that old 

Another monument to Methodism in the Albemarle section 
is the Rosebud Missionary Society of the Virginia Confer- 

64 Historical Papers 

eace. That, was first organized by the children in Gatesville 
in 1878, and it was named tor one of the children of Rev. 
Thomas II. Campbell, the pastor of Gates Circuit at thai- 
time, A few years ago when the new brick church was 
erected in Gatesville, that Society presented a handsome 
pulpit as a memorial of its foundation, with an inscription 
upon it showing the date and place of its organization, and 
stating that, since its formation, to that time, it had raised 
more than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for 
missions ; and it is still carrying on the good work. 

This section has also always contributed her quota of men 
for service on the fields of the Virginia Conference, and some 
of the ablest men in Southern Methodism have gone out from 
her borders; and still among the ablest and best men of the 
Virginia Conference we find some who were born and reared 
among us. 

But there came a time when, in the eternal fitness of things, 
the Methodists of this old Albemarle country ought to belong 
to the North Carolina Conference ; and though it was hard 
and sad to break away from all the old endearing relations 
with the Virginia Conference, yet it was pleasant and hope- 
fid and joyous to form the new associations with our own 
North Carolina Conference ; and we opened our hearts and 
let you in. 

Of course, Virginia did not wish to give us up, and did 
not, without a struggle ; and as it required two grants from 
the crown to get Albemarle into Carolina, so in the 
same way it took two transfers of the General Conference 
to bring the Methodists of Albemarle into the North Carolina 
Conference. There was considerable agitation over the 
matter, and in 1S90, a tub was thrown to the whale, and that 
part of the territory lying between the Roanoke and Chowan 
was then transferred. But we kept insisting that we wanted 
to go. too. and four years thereafter the General Conference 
at Memphis transferred the balance of the territory to the 
North Carolina Conference, with the exception of Knott's 

Methodism in Albemarle 65 

Island, in Currituck", and Xew Hope Church, in Hertford 
County, which arc still a part of Newsom's Circuit of the 
Virginia Conference. 

This good old town of Elizabeth City has shown her hos- 
pitality by entertaining the North Carolina Conference three 
times since that transfer was made. That is typical of the 
Albemarle country. 

I wish to say in conclusion, that the greatest monument 
to the faithful Methodist preachers who have labored among 
us from the days of Asbury and Jesse Lee to the present, is 
the fact that the great doctrines of the Universality of the 
Atonement and the Witness of the Spirit, which they always 
insisted upon, and which were once strenuously controverted, 
are now preached from every pulpit. Believe me ! I state 
a fact, not in the spirit of controversy. God forbid, but as a 
matter of history, that I can recall the day when I never 
heard these great Scriptural doctrines preached except from 
a Methodist pulpit. But now in all this section "whosoever 
will" may come into the Kingdom and all may know it when 
they get there. 

Part I. May 19 to Aug. 31, 178!).* 

May 10. Tues. This morning my all lies in the hand of 
hit Glorious Master. I think since God thrust me out in to 
his vineyard which was October 17S7, I have travelled exten- 
sively—First, I travelled one Quarter in Sussex Circuit in 
Virginia — from thence to Oronoque Ct Xorthcarolina where 
I stayed about 5 months — here the Lord wonderfully carried 
on the work of regeneration. From thence to P3artie Ct 
(in the same State) here I was much afflicted but travelled 
about 6 months in these parts. Many Soules were brought 
to God. From thence I removed into Hanover Ct Virginia 
where God remarkably revived his work and from Confer- 
ence April 20 I was sent into Grensville Circuit Virginia. 
Xow I believe my poor Soul is taken another wing for Eea- 
ven. Lord give more grace. 

Wed. 20. To-day I preached to a small concourse of Peo- 
ple, my idiars is but shallow yet I trust there was a word 
dropt in Season, Lord let fruit thereof be found at the last 

* Rev. James Meacham. the author of the following diary, was born in 
Sussex County, Virginia. April 7, 1763. He was thf» son of Joshua and 
Anne Lee Meacham. his mother being a relative of Richard Henry Lee. Ac- 
cording to family tradition he served in the Revolutionary War. and the 
papers in evidence of this were destroyed by rire. In the My-leai" of the 
diary he says he was '"born of the spirit April 14. 1787. and began to 
travel en the itinerant plan with the Methodist Oct. 1, 1787." However, 
the Conference Minutes- show that he was admitted on trial in 1788, and into 
full connection in 1790. i-ein^ assigned in the latter year to Orange Circuit. 
In 1791 he was ordained Elder hat served Wiiihomshurs- Circuit that year, 
Pamunkey Circuit in 171)2; Mecklenburg Circuit in 1793. and Portsmouth 
Circuit in 1794. In 1 '■■>'< he was appointed Presiding E'thr to the Guilford 
District, and to the Tar River District in 1796. In 1707 he was located. 
having married Mary Seward, of White Plains. Brunsv.-?ck Co. To thpm 
nine children were born. In 1820 James Meaeham died in Mecklenburg 
County, Virginia. 

The diary will prove of value- to all who are interested in early Methodism 
in the raited States. Of especial interest is its strong anti-slavery feeling. 
"O America. America, blood and oppression will he thy overthrow," exclaims 
the aurhor, and the sentiment is reiterated several times. Quite in harmony 
with it is the fact that -Tames Meacham was never happier than when 
preaching to the blacks. 

The aurhor of the diary was also a personal friend and admirer of Rev. 
James O'Kelly : indeed he seems to have travelled some circuits in O'Keily's 
district pefore he was admitted on trial in 1788. 

For - ruring the diary The Trinitv College Historical Society is indebted to 
Rev. W. w. Rose of the N'orth Carolina Conference. The part between 
Svotember. 1780, and July. 17:0, ha . been lost. In hope that it may be found, 
the division of the diary into two parts has been made, part IT to he published 
in the next series of Historical Tapers. — Wji. K. Bo?d. 

xV Jourxal of James Meacham 67 

Thur 21. This day I met a small congregation, but little 
or no liberty in speaking unto them — this remark is hard to 
account (for) for about three years ago this part of Mclenb- 
burg County was the flower of Virginia for Religion but now 
coldness and Dullness seems to overshadow the people, if 
I may be allowed my sentiment is this — that hateful bloody 
name of oppression. I say the spirit of blood, kills the life 
of love and liberty. 

Fri. 22. I preached with but little liberty. I met the 
class, here the Lord wonderfully met with us ; after meeting 
this, I met the Childrens class, separately by themselves. 
O how tender their little hearts was, a time of spilling of 
tears — Lord give great success to this constitution. 

Sat. 23. This morning I rode to my appointment, brother 
and Sister Tavlor with me. Xow the Lord bes;an to break 
asunder the clouds of L^nbelief. this was a time of grace. 

Sun. 24. This Sabbath I met a larg concourse of people. 
the power of God was upon the people — weeping was on every 
Side. I hope the Lord will carry on the glorious worke of 

Mpn. 25. Llere I met a small concourse of dear people 
waiting to hear the word of the Lord. To whom I cried 
ye will not come to me that ye might have life ! Weeping all 
around, by this time Hell had call up her forces and made 
a bold attack upon Israel's camp and began to drag out the 
Slain in Zion by force, our united cries repetedly was ex- 
torted for her Soul (a young Woman) until Satan made a 
eiiialj retreat then we boldly marched forward, and took the 
slain | or wounded again). O the cries that she extorted was 
enough to r<arh the heart of the most obdurate. Lord give 
deliverance to the oppressed. 

I nes. 20. Xothing great here. Lord revive thy work. 

ftcd. 27. This day I preached to a happy people. 
Huir. 28. Here I met with some few good Christians 
[ h&pe — before preaching began old bro. Meione came up 


68 Historical Papers 

stares, to me and opened his heart freely. I believe it is an 
honest one. Slavery he abominates 

Eri. 29. the strength of my body failes. I preached 
with much pain of body — I met the Society then the Chil- 
dren. O that God mav give us success in this and everv 
point of Christian devotion. 

Sat. 30. this day I preached to a small attentive Con- 
gregation of People, in the Evening rode home with Old 
Bro. O. Myrick of Brunwick County — it is something amaz- 
ing, I think, he is now with his wife a numerous Age. without 
any Child, an immence Fortune and yet is as Bloody op- 
pressor perhaps as may be found, we have had a litt- 
le Conjecture upon Slavery, but to no Satisfaction at all. 
O how much good might this man do for God, — but perhaps 
it may be said Tush God doth doth not regard. — Or foolishly 
iimnagins m kis heart, God hath forgotten: he hidth his face; 
he will never see it. Psa. 10-11. But when the Lord mak- 
eth inquisition for blood, he remembered them. He for- 
getteth not the cry of the poor Humble (or) oppressed. 
Psa. 9-12. 

Sun. 31. This day I found a large assembly of people 
awaiting for me to which I cryed What is man that thou 
art mindful of him or the Son of Man that thou so visitest 
him \ uncommon attention overshadowed the people. Xoth- 
ing great only some few outcryes for Mercy. 

Mori. June 1. this Day I think we had a Smart war, our 
Enemies seemed to get ground ; but when Israel prevailed, 
the little camp went forward. Several persecutors Slain, 
and boldly cryed Men and Brethren what Shall I do to be 
Saved. Some found refuge in the blood of Christ. 

Tues. 2, here I meet with our Bro. Lewis Griggs, who was 
once an Itinerant preacher in the work of Methodism, but 
now Locative, he stood in my place and preached from I 
Ep 3-22 Beloved, Xow are we the Sons of God ; and it doth 
not yet appear what we shall be but we know that, when 
he shall appear, we Shall be like him, for we Shall see him 

A Joukxal of James Meacham 69 

as he is. A time of Rejoicing among the Saints,. Some few 
a crying for Mercy; in the Evening we had Meeting. I 
sang and prayed, by this time crying was on every Side. 
after 3 Hours struggling in ernest prayer the Lord set 2 
Souls at liberty to praise him. 

Wednesday 3. this day I find but cold incouragment. 
Thursday 4 Here I met a Small congregation — little or no 
Stir, the Class in this place (I fear) is about to be broken — 
the Devil is about to sow the Seed of Discord among the 

Friday 5, this Day I preached a Funeral Sermon over a 
little babe near Bar tie, where I had formerly rode in time 
past. Many of the Dear Bartie Bretheren came to hear me, 
a time of Love and Happiness, great was my consolation 
to rind so many of my Bretheren in the lord was yet on their 
journey home ; in the Evening I rode home with Sister 
Saurey in Bartie Ct — where I met near two hundred pre- 
cious Souls, only hearing I was coming, to tarry one evening. 
I called unto them for Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ etc — a time long to be remembered I hope with many; 
here I met with a poor Backsliding Sister. My face was a 
terror to her, I began to Labour with her, and to remind 
her of the Goodness of God in once pardoning her Sins ; the 
Tears began to fall down her poor Blushing face. While I 
was preaching I called out upon the Backsliders and bad 
them venture the second time upon Jesus, that he was still 
on his Mercy Seat interceeding for them, that he had there 
a massy Crown of Glory for them if they would but come. 
Conviction fastened upon her Soul, but cryed the Dove of 
Heaven was Shut against her. I told her ventur her Soul 
on him, ho had promised to heal the Backsliders and love 
them freely. — tin Congregation broke. She still continued 
?<> cry in the Bitterness of her Soul, Lord wilt thou love a 
Backslider — I thought prayer might prevail on God. I 
< ailed upon the brethern for prayer. The Lord soon came 
and broke every chain and set her at liberty to praise his 

70 Historical Papers 

Glorious !Name. O may She ever Stand faithful unto the 

Sat. 6. This Morning I feel the infirmities of my poor 
body almost too great for me to labour. I rode for Q miles 
in much pain of body where I found a few Souls awaiting 
for me. I Spoke from these words of St. Paul : But of him 
are ye in Christ Jesus &c. The Lord was present with us. 

Sun. 7. this day I preached to a large concourse of people. 
The power of God was much upon them. Shouts and crys to 
be herd on every side. — I strove to meet the Class, but 
could not, the Lord would not let me, he willed the people 
should praise him. Several joimd Society. 

Mond. S. the great power of the Lord was with us —a 
time of melting love. 

Tues. 9. Bode to Smiths Church in Northampton County 
Xorthcarolina, in this place the Gospel is preached in So 
many Different lights, that the Devil Sows the Seed of Dis- 
cord, to the great and unhappy Spoil of Methodism ; a few 
precious Souls met me, to whome I cryed. Submit your- 
selves to God and, Satra! weeping was on every Side, but 
how long will these impressions last. — For the Fruit of 
Righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace: 
James 3/18 

Wed. 10. the Glory of the Lord appears, my Soul is Kept 
in peace thro Jesus. — 

Thur. 11. This day the Lord met with his people. 

Frid. 12. I met at this place some of my Strange Breth- 
eren in the flesh, with Several other of the Oronoque Breth- 
eren, where I had an Opportunity of hearing from the work 
of the Lord in that part — (in) almost every Quarter of the 
Earth, in America the Glorious work of Methodism Seems 
to prosper. — I preached to this people at 11 Oclock, as I 
expected to preach again at 5 about S Miles above. — the Lord 
with power applied the Truth to the hearts of the Dear peo- 
ple. Several down whose cry was for Mercy. About 2 I 
left them after meeting of large Society. Thro much pain 

A Journal of James M each am 71 

I got to my second appointment where I found a little 
solemn attentive concourse of people to whom I cryed, He 
that cometh to God must believe that He is and that he is a 
rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Uncommon at- 
tention but no greater good perceivably done, by this my 
poor Xerves and whole system was relxt. Lord how 
is it. that my bodily Strength is so extraordinary. 

Sat, 13. Bless God. his work seems to move progressiva iv 
on. In the evening word came that I was to meet brother 
Paup at Bro. Alyrieks at his Evening Alee ring, I attended 
but he never came. I endeavored to prove that the Son of 
Alan came to Seek and to save that which was lost. I felt 
a heart full of love, for the dear People, but I know not 
whether there was any good done or not. 

Sun. 14:. I set out early for my next appointment (by 
the way I met with Bro. Paup, which gave me much Satisfac- 
tion ) at Oronoque ChapL where the people in general flocks 
out to hear the Word of the Lord. I expect this Day will 
he held in rememberance thro Eternity, Several Souls Born 
to God; in the evening I rode 10 Miles and spoke to the 
dear Black Bretheren, which my Soul Delights to do. (Sev- 
eral White Bretheren came also) the Lord Jehovah was 
present to help in time of Xeed. I think a time of sweeter 
power I never saw. Several Souls I trust powerfully deliv- 
ered from the Bondage of Eniquity. 

Mom. 15. this day I preached a Funeral Sermon over 
Mr. W. on the South side Oronoque in Mclenburge Co'y. 
I disre member whether ever I spoke to more attentive peo- 
ple in my travels or not, other incouragement. yet 
perceivable, God I believe stood uncommonly near to help 
the willing in heart; after Preaelrg rode home with Sister 
Llexaiider, a Comfortable place for the poor Body. how 
weak and. feeble is my poor System. Lord, Strengthen thy 
Stripling, make him humble and faithful. 

due-. 10. this day I met a melting congregation of peo- 
ple, the Aweful presence of God was sweetlv with us. — I 

72 Historical Papers 

mot the Class there, proceeded to speak to all such as was 
not of our Society, as is my general rule While I was Speak'g 
to a young Woman, beging her never to persecute the peopk- 
of God again, her heart bursted into an Agony of Distress, 
the Dear Lord speedily came to her relief. In a few Moments 
a poor Backslider Professed to be reclaimed. My Soul 
Rejoices every hour of my life when Zion Prospers. 

Wed. IT. this Day I thank God, his dear presence was in 
every heart almost; in the Evening we had a comfortable 
Prayer Meeting, my Soul grows in Grace Daily, bless God. 

Thur. 18. Eode 10 or 12 miles where I met a few Solemn 
People, a time of love, one Soul born to God, in the Evening 
Watch or night an uncommon power of Darkness opposs'd 
us. Several Mourners, but no deliverance. 

Fri. 19. a small concourse of people. I strove to meet the 
Class. O how sweet the Lord filled my cup. — O for more 
faith and love, at the feet of my Master I dedicate my little 

Sat. 20 this day my Soul feels grief from Various Quar- 
ters. 1. Satan hath Defiled some of the dear children of 
God 2, an Uncommon coldness among the Bretheren. O 
how short the Professors of Godliness are of Watching unto 
Prayer and continuing in the same with Thanksgiving — in 
the evening held Meeting at a Xeighboring Sisters House, 
the Prayers of the Saints was Jointly sent up to God. We 
had a little Time of love. 

Sun. 21 this Sabbath I met a large concourse of People 
at this place I was inform'd the people behaved uncommonly 
bad. — When I was about to introduce my Discourse (which 
was from Rom. 2:41 — 2) [ cautioned them and beged their 
attentions, declaring unto them the beauty of Solemnity 
and attention, both in the Antient and the Young. — Thus 
I proceeded to my Doctrine, and was much comforted in 
declareing unto (them) the Word of Truth. — I disremem- 
ber that I saw but one Soul, but appeared to be thoughtful 
of Eternal things (this Man is bent to opose, having neither 

A Journal of James Meaciiam 73 

Wit manners nor breeding.) One of our pious Brothers 
strove to .Reconcile him (by reasoning) but the Satan was 
raised, until our bro, told him, the Law was made for the 
Lawless and not the Righteous, which stopped him, I be- 
lieve from further Mischief. I met part of the Class and 
Jesus met there with us. — Rode home with Bro. Joseph 
Speed, Melenburge, comfortable Accomodations for the 

Mom 22. this morning my mind is much Disordered, that 
God may burst the cloud and keep me humble, rode to my 
Stage where I found twice as many as I really expected; 
to whome I cried, the Snare is broken and we are escaped; 
weeping was on every side, many good and Divine impres- 
sions upon Antient and Young, but O how long will these 
impressions last. 

Tues. 23. this morning the weather is very warm. I rode 
Several Miles and spoke with much inability of soul and 
body; after preaching, I held Love feast and a time of love 
indeed. Lord carry on thy wwks. Amen. 

Wed. 24. at this time I bless God for a prospect of a 
revival of religion in general around this Circuit. 

Thur. 25. a time of Power among Saints and Sinners. 

Frid. 26. here our Dear honest Hearted bro. Seward 
broke the yoke of oppression from off of his poor Slaves. 
O that God may make it a growing work. Lord, I trust 
for more faith and love. This Evening Bro Minter Deacon 
<>£ Brunswick Co came to Quarter with me on his way to 
our Q. M. It was a time of love and great power. — He shew 
me some of his Journals which was rendered very Satisfac- 
tory to me, his manner of Journaling gives me a more profit- 
able idea. I must acknowledge my Journal carries but little 
of ray own Spiritual Exercise with it, but for the future I 
feel resolved to Write more in full. 

Saturday 27. This morning we set out for Boanoak 
Q. M. — a large concourse of people. Bro. Minter preached 
irom these words of the Apostle, Grow in grace — and a time 

V4 Historical Papers 

of grace indeed. Several souls born to God. In the Appli- 
cation my poor Soul broke out in strong desire bis perfect 
will to prove. what a time of Joy to my heart it was — 
a heaven begun below — not a cloud did arise to darken the 
Skies or hide for one Moment my Lord from mine Eyes. 
This evening we (the preachers) stayed at old Sister Clan- 
tons — a time of Grace to our dear Souls. 

Sunday 28. at 9 Ociock the love feast began, the house of 
the Lord was crowded with Christians, a feast of love in- 
deed — the dear Lord soon met with us, which occurred to 
my Mind the year of Jubilee. Christians filled with the 
presence of God, Mourners a lying at the pool and Jehovah 
aperfecting his Saints below — in this time my Soul was 
filled with anxiety for the Kingdom — praise God my Soul 
and forget not all his Benefits. 

Monday 29. rode home with bro. Cooke, this day my Soul 
is measurably stayed on the Lord. 

Tuesday 30. Much backwardness and dullness of Soul, 
this state as urksome to me as Dungeon is to the poor Male- 
factor — bless God. when the people began to approach the 
House of Prayer my Soul began to breake its gloome, a 
few happy Souls. I Lectured from Isaiah. 35 :50, a time 
of refreshment from the presence of the Lord. I felt as 
commonly happy, and feel at present bound for the Cilistial 

Wednesday July I. This morning many are my afflictions 
of Soul, but I confide in my dear Jesus — Lord help an 
helpless worm that hangs upon Thee. 

Thursday 2. this morning my poor heart and the Cor- 
ruption thereof raised more against my Soul. I set out for 
my next stage, where I found a few Precious waiting Souls ; 
I was much more comforted here than I expected. The Class 
seems to be unstable, and the Enemy of Souls, looses no op- 
portunity but seeks every advantage to scatter tare and slay 
— in the Evening rode to Bro. B. T. where I met with my 
dear precious bro. H. Jones, a Deacon, and dear bro. II. 

A JornxAL or James Meacham 75 

Burchet an Assistant. how good it is for preachers and. 
People to enjoy Christian Conferences together. Several 
of the Neighbouring people came out, we had prayer, the 
Lord wonderfully met with us. 3 or 4 Souls born to God, 
bless God my soul seems uncommonly drawn out after Sin- 
ners. I have late information for Bartie & Portsmith Cir- 
cuits — the Lord is at work. how doth God work in Spite 
of all the united powers of Earth and Hell. — 

Friday 3. this morning the Spirit is willing but the nesh 
is weak. Lord give Strength for the Day. — Xow my Bro's 
set out for their different Stages, my Soul bids them God 
speed. I am now Seated in my little apartment for private 
devotion — a small concourse of people met me. the Lord 
visited us with power, the Shouts of Israels camp, the cry of 
the wounded Spirit was heard afare off — in Family 
pray(er) the Lord came and Delivered one precious Soul. 

Saturday 4. this Morning my Soul enjoyed sweet union 
with God — after riding Several Iviiles I found my people 
awaiting for me to whome I eryed. The Snare is broken and 
we have escaped: at this place I felt bound in Spirit. 

Sunday 5 this morning I Met a Black class of about 25 
Members, a time of Gods power — my Soul was much blessed 
indeed among my poor outcast of Men — after this rode to the 
JLoground Ch: a large X umber of Souls met me to whome I 
eryed, Ye will not come unto me that Ye might have life. 
Sinners appeared to be very hard — after preaching I took 
Horse for Sister Clarkes, but was turned back by a heavy 
rain— the people still continued within the Ch: we sang 
and prayed, now the Lord broke into our Souls a time of 
bve indeed- — thence I took horse the second time but got 
very wet. but I know not the Prejudice it may prove to my 
body — my Constitution is much impaired — if I never was to 
preach again while I live, T never should be the Man in Con- 
stitution as I have formily been. that I had Seven more 
Youths Pde Spend them all (thro, grace) for God. 

Monday 6. at this place the Lord hath never failed bless- 

76 Historical. Papers 

ing the people Yet. 1 sang and prayed but the Lord over- 
powered my Soul with such a Divine Sense and Measure of 
his fullness, that I was incapable of preaching, — great was 
our Comfort and consolation — my Soul about this time feels 
an uninterupted peace with my Jesus. 

Tuesday 7. much hardness attend the people, at this place 
I felt much drawn out after their Souls. Lord revive thy 

Wednesday 8. at 12 oclock I bury'd a Man that died on 
Roanoke in a Vessel. — the Evening I spoke again at Sister 
Peets. I strove to shew the Rise and Progress of True 
Christianity. — 

Thursday 9. My Soul seemed to be under a Cloud, the 
presence of the Lord makes every Cloud to Breake, and 
disperses every Gloom. 

Friday 10. this morning the Sea is Still great in my 
peace and Constitution. 

Saturday 11. here I took horse for my next Stage, a few 
happy people, I preached from Ye know the Peace of the 
Lord &c — the raptures of the poor Saints was glorious to hear. 

Saturday 12. this day I met a large Concours of people. 
I spoke from Rom. L down to 12. The place was awful 
because of the presence of the Lord — my Soul was amply 
imprest with an awful nearness of the Judgment — O when 
shall this body of dust and my Intellectual Spirit be Sepa- 
rated, when shall my Triumphant Soul return to God. Its 
my thought at the last day when the restitution of all things 
shall be that the Holy Sanctified spirits shall arise, our dead 
bodys Shall arise, every particle of our dust shall be raised 
a Spiritual Body. O then Shall my Redeemed Spirit cry 
out and Say Yonder is the Body which carried my Soul so 
many weary steps, yonder is the body that commenced a 
Capital Ware, in my members and Spirit, this is the body I 
was weary of. but now it is a Spiritual body, now it is a 
Holy body. Xow it is a Glorious body. Hail thou, once 
Mortal but now Immortal Bodv. Hail, all Hail mv Eternal 

A Journal of James Meacham 77 

Si list la! Household. Now I feel perfect Union with you, 
enter into thy Palace, and redouble thy reunion. Now I 
am sate and now I am happy. Xot a rival of the least Im- 
purity. 4 Souls Born to God today. 

Monday 13. this morning a few Words past, introduced the 
subject of Slavery. I was much opposed to the (same). I 
felt much disconsolate. Now took horse for my next stage — 
a number of precious dear Souls to whme I cryed Submit 
Yourselves therefore unto God. &c. the God of Heaven was 
there — crying and shouting was on every Side. One dear 
Soul, I hope, borne again, my Soul was overshaddowed with 
i\u: awful Danger that Sinners contentively risks them- 
selves in. My Cup was a mixture. Evening rode home with 
bro Baugh — great is my warfare — indeed heir of this flesh 
and body of corruption where shall I obtain Victory. 

Tuesday 14. this morning the way appears very narrow in- 
deed and few there be that find it. Lord may the least of 
all thy Servants find some humble seat beneath the Brides 
exalted feet. Bode to my appointment where I found a 
large concourse of people awaiting for the word of the Lord. 
To whome I cryed, "Ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus 
Christ" &c. Many deeply distressed for the Kingdom of 

Wednesday 15. this day the Lord powerfully met with his 
little Hock — a time of deep distress with Sinners — an over- 
Sowing time of love with the Christians, here my Soul tasted 
the rree of life. that I could drop every thought and word 
** iii the presence of Jesus my great and Eternal Judge of 
Quik and Dead. 

I bur-day 16. this day my Soul enjoys a measure of Gods 
presence, it is my Study to live daily for God & the good 

Souls — it i< m y longest grief that my life is no more 

t ridav 17. rode to my appointment where I joyfully met 

b Bro, Henry Ogburn an Itinerant Preacher — he spake 

rtina these words. — Strive to enter in at the straight gate, 

78 * Historical Papees 

for many shall seek to enter in and shall not be able — a Sea- 
sonable time of Grace — this Evening I went with bro. Og- 
burn to see the wife of our Old Bro. O' Kelly Presiding 
Elder Virginia — going to prayer before we went away the 
Lord powerfully blest my Soul — upon our return to bro. 
T. Jones's an eminent place for religion, we had a Consort 
of Musiek, O how sweet and melodious trausport'g and ani- 
mating it was. but if this be so inexpressible glorious, 
what bight of rapture shall we know when round his throne 
we meet. 

Saturday IS. this .Morning I parted Bro. O and out for, 
my other oppoint — a few people met me to whome I eryed 
Submit Yourselves therefore to God &c. I I had) little or no 
liberty in speaking, only a burning fury in my Soul against 
blood and oppression — would to God the abominable custom 
was buried in Eternal forgetfulness — met the CIas>. a time of 
inspeakable joy to my Soul — this being the Eighteenth day 
of the IvTonth which Xight of every Month I have covenanted 
to watch and pray untill 12 Oclock. It was a time of un- 
common Consolation to my Soul. O how little of watchery 
unto prayer is found among our bretheren. Lord u'ive dili- 
gence to our dear people. Heaven drop the Divine Xature 
into our dear peoples Souls. 

Sunday 10. this day I spoke to a lage attentive Congrega- 
tion of People — a time of love in Class Meeting. I want 
more grace and every Qualification for the great Ministry 
of the Lord. 

Monday 20. a few hearers — little or no light or liberty in 
speaking — happy Class meeting, bless the Lord for this priv- 
alege, it is worth Millions, this Evening I feel a Strength in 
my Soul for more of the Xature of God to be instamped 
within me — Lord make me wise to win souls to thee — help 

Tuesday 21. this morning I feel the capital need for a 
closer walk with God. — rode to my next Stage — a few people 
Met me to whome I crved "The Son of Man has come to 


A Jouex.yl of .James Meacham 79 

Seek and to Save that Which is Lost" — the Lord was pres- 
ent — a melting time in our Class Meeting — my Soul was 
much refreshed to find the little flock progressively moving 

Wednesday 22. I feel the great need of faith and love,, 
which is Essentially necessary to bare up a Soul under all 
the Difficulties of this mortal Life. A few attentive people 
met me to whome I cryed. He that love life and See good 
Days let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that 
they speak no guile kc. Nothing great done here because of 
Unbelief — happy Class Meeting — by this time my bodily 
strength fails me, my Soul loaths this body of clay — Lord 
stir me to double my Diligence for Heaven, and for the 
profit of Souls. 

Tuesday 23. this morning my mind is much wondring — 
may God. who never fails them who trust him. break every 
Obstruction, and let my Soul be. staid up (on) his lovely 
breast — rode to my appt. where I met with a large concourse 
of people, to whom I cryed, what is man that Thou art mind- 
ful of him or the Son of man that thou so visits him — a 
time of power, happy Class meeting. Met the Children — 
their little hearts milted with sorrow, bless God for the 
lively prospect we have with the little ones. Lord carry it 
on. — evening the dear black bretheren began to sing as they 
ware in their cottage. I went to join them, we went to prayer 
■ — two of them prayed, much to the purpose, the Lord soon 
Visited them in an uncommon manner — my Soul felt as if 
Heaven was just then at hand, bless God if I mistake not 
I never tnet with these people in my life, but God blest my 
Koul with them — 1 fear many bloody oppressors heart will 
p?l hardened thro the deceitfulness (of) that accursed Sin. 

Fridav 24. I feel, I thiirst, I breathe for more of the 
uiiml ot my Master, rode to my appointment where I found 
ike people awaiting, to whome I cryed Our Souls is Escaped 
wo. 1'-: 124.-7. the Lord was powerfully near, the place felt 
awful because, of his presence, my Soul was much comforted 

50 Historical Papers 

in class, — thence I met the Dear little Children, I began with 
prayer, the Lord powerfully opperatd upon their little Minds, 
a outcry began among them for Mercy and so continued 
untill God sweetly and visibly Delivered two of their Young 
souls. O the Sweet Shout that Christians Echoed to God and , 
the Lamb for his kind presence to heal their little Children. 
In the Evening met the Black people. O what a time of 
Grace this was to my Soul, many of the dear blacks power 
fully wrought upon, whose cry was for Mercy. Here God 
converted another little dear Child. My Joy in the Holy 
Ghost was inexpressible, my heart was filled with Tender- 
ness, here my poor body began to fail me. 

Saturday 25. this morning I take horse for my next Stage 
— on my way I met with one of our Representatives Clo J. 
J. : after a few sentences of political matter we turned upon 
Ecclesiastical matter — he soon opened his Sentiment con- 
cerning the Abominable Custom of Slavery — a great advo- 
cate for blood — we soon parted — little or no Satisfaction — 
So I met my people, here I visibly felt the effects of Last 
Evenings Mgs. I spoke from Saint Lukes G. Ch. 19.10. a 
great time and season of grace indeed to my Soul and I 
hope to many others — this Evening I rode to bro. M. M. 
where I met with dear bro. Paup — great was our union 
with God and each other while together. 

Sunday 26. we parted and repaired to our Different 
Stages — this day great was the concours of people which I 
spoke unto from Rom. 2, L 12. very happy was the dear 
people in general — one Soul born again . a tolerable degree 
of peace now rests on my poor insignificant Soul. Lord 
make more watchful, more Holy, more humble, more pious, 
and more useful. 

Monday 27. this morning my mind is much perplext by 
reason of some Temporal Business. I take Horse for my 
next Stage, where I found considerable dumber of Souls 
awaiting, to whome I cryed wilt thou be made whole — a 
sweet time among the Christians. I felt as if God would 

A Journal of James Meacham 81 

make some of them whole in a little time. Met the Class — 
the Lord came — Healed one precious Soul. O how my Soul 
rejoice— ~Xow I tooke Horse to Meet the presicTg Elder, 
for our Diocese — by the way I caled in upon one of our 
Bros. W. A. and took a little refreshment, thence we ap- 
proached his throne to aske a blessing upon our parting — 
fesus came and sweetly water d our little Spirits. 
Tuesday 2$. this morning I feel in some measure discom- 
pos'd. rod with Bro. G to hear my father in the Gospel 
preach. (I. G, ) his text was. And he came unto his own, 
and Satra, ! the people seemed to be much blesed. after 
preaching Sister W. distressed much my poor Soul, by men- 
tioning an old, infamous report over again which the Devil 
about 12. months ago was pleased to raise, upon me. I felt 
very much discornposYt that Evening thro: rode to Bro, 
E. B. I still felt very unhappy, much tempted that not one 
of the Bretheren loved me as formerly, I sunk under dejec- 
tion. I could not forbare but opened my Mind and Tempta- 
tions, to my dear Bretheren. 1 proved the Devil to be an 
infamous lyar. In family prayer the Lord came and broke 
tha cloud of Hell. O how Sweetly my Soul rejoiced in the 
Holy one of Israel. God be thanked for his Grace is freely 
bestowed on such .a worm as me. 

Wednesday, 29. Today I rode to hear my Dear old Bro. 
Okelly preach — a large audience of people indeed, his text in 
Ilahikuk 3.1 7. IS. — a time of the outpouring of the Spirit 
of the Lord upon the people, my Soul felt a sweet peace in 
time of Sacrament. Eode that evening with my old bro. 
Ui Sifter Ms — li'reat was our Consolation indeed. 

ihursday 30. this morning I set on Horse for my Circuit 
again—the rain soqb began to fall — many ware my Exercises 
oh ihe way — the rain continually falling for about 23 or 4 
Miles. L was miu-h lost at times not being acquainted with 
the way: so I was water wet. the effects of it I soon felt 
but thf. Lord ever provides — for £raee to keep me humble. 

rriday 31. this Morning I feel much disordered in body 

82 Historical Papebs 

— rook Horse for my next Stage — nere I found many of my 
old Bartie Bretheren from fare to see me. I was searsely 

able to preach yet God gave me strength for the day — a 
time of grace with the people of God. I was measurably 
happy but as common. 

Saturday August 1. this morning I find a struggle within 
for more go-pel grace. Took Horse for my next Stage where 
I found a number of precious Souls awaiting to hear the 
word of the Lord to whome I eryed, the Lord oppeneth the 
Eyes of the Blind, the Lord Raiseth them that are bowed 
down, the Lord loveth the Righteous — the people called 
Methodist, in the low Grounds of Meheren, are so prejudiced. 
against the Doctrine of truth Mercy and Justice, that the 
fire of Zeal is nearly extinct. Oppression, that hateful name, 
how my Soul is burdened with the accursed Sight — about 
this time I had a Shame L^agger tc mv heart, the narrow 
hearted professors a backbiting and a slandering the preach- 
ers. O that poor blind Bro. A. J. that declares to prove bro. 
P a lyar. and to .-hut the Church door against him. — Good 
Lord forgive him, he knows not what he does or says. — well 
might our Lord say will ye also go away, may God keep me 
humble, and take me to his Self before I ever fall into that 

abominable Spirit of Blood. if ever I get rich through 

Slavery I shall esteem myself a Traitor, and claim a part in 
Hell with Judas, and the rich glutton — I feel an Holy Ambi- 
tion again Blood, blood, blood. O how it cryes from the 
ground up to God against the poor Antichristian. 

Sunday 2. rode to the Lowgions Cr. A nummerous Con- 
gregation indeed but theire blind angry prejudices dissa- 
fected the word. I strove to speake against that Spirit of 
Slandering. backbiting, gain saying and Evil Speaking, one 
of and against another. O how the poor hand hung and no 
one to bare it up, neither to strengthen the feeble Xe'k. While 
speaking the vehemency of the weather and the weakness 
of my body overcame me so that I sunk in the desk — there 
sat one of our good pious brothers who stood up and spoke 

A Journal of James Meacham 83 

in my place, "Help Lord for that Godly Man ceaseth; for 
the faithful fail from among the Children of Men'-' — Took 
Horse for the dear good Sister Clark (a mother in Israel) 
we were occasioned by a cloud to call in upon bro. 01. where 
ray soul was heavy oppressed with sorrow and grief to *see 
the result of prejudice — he showed me a piece which lie 
lately wrote against bro. P. Sermon Preached at or in the 
Lowgroune Church, — I will Extol thee, Lord, for thou 
hast lifted me up and hast not mademy foes to rejoice, over 
me, thou art my rock and my fortress ; therefore for liiy 
Names sake lead me and guide me, for into thy hand I com- 
mit Spirit, for thou hast redeemed me lor 1 God of Truth, 
— how great is thy goodness which hast laid up for all them 
that fear thee. love the Lord all ye his Saints for the 
Lord praiseth the faithful. Good is the will of the Lord. 

Monday 3. this Horning the Lord is near at hand and 
not afare off — happy time indeed with the Christians, Class 
meeting a time of great Grace, — my Soul felt the Holy 
Sanctifying Streams of love, unspeakable happy, praise God 
of my Soul, and all and every power, every faculty, every 
Substance, within me praise the Lord, — In the Evening 
most uncommonly and powerfully Tempted — I rarely ever 
get very happy but soon after I feel Some thing as severe 
all most as the Darts of Hell to my (heart). 

Tuesday 4. Took horse this Morning for my next Stage, 
a bout a Douzin of my near and dear Methodist Bretheren 
with me; it was rather late when I reached my Stage by 
reason of a Shower of rain. I was much comforted to find 
more people than I ever saw at this place before. I cryed 
'Hit., them the Snare is broken &c. Many and loud was the 
ery< s of the dear people for Mercy. I dont remember 
whither 1 ever saw so general impression to the Number of 
people in all my Circuits, the Lord prosper it but who eon 
Mi how long this may stand. Kode home with Sister Peete. 
my Soul seems measurably happy, but my whole Sistem 
of Nature Seems to be relaxed. 

84 Historical Papers 

Wednesday 5. this Morning my body is much disordered 
but bless God my Sould can truly say that good is the will 
of the Lord. Xow the people began to gather, to whome I 
cryed ; — Wilt thou be made whole — i I strove by the grace 
of God to inform the peoples judgements of the nature of 
their Souls, its faculties and essence. 2. I strove to open 
the wound in this Soul. 3, pointed the phician his means 
of recovery. 4. what was irnpioyed in being made whole 
and lastly inforst the important Question, wilt thou be made 
whole ( Weeping was on every side. I believe God is about 
to revive his work among sinners. Class Meeting. 5 or 6 
down crying bitterly for Mercy. O how is it that my poor 
Body holds up with that degree of Strength as what it really 
does. In my evenings Prayer and Meditation I felt a strug- 
gle in my Soul for victory. I thought if I fought untill the 
Mid watch of the Xip;ht — I ^ T *as resolved not to ^ive up the 
point. It was not many minutes after before I felt as if 
Hell received a heavy reproof — the Lord Jesus appeared in 
his beauiiful picture, his Countenance ravished my heart, 
his presence made all within me rejoice. O he nils me. It 
fills me. My Dear Jesus you have gained my heart. O that 
I may be humble. 

Thursday 6. this Morning I took horse for my next Stage 
where I found a few Souls awaiting to hear the word of the 
Lord, to whome I cryed for ye know the grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ &e. I think happier people I never saw in 
general than these, they are a teachable people, God loves 
them for their Simplicity and their labours of Love. O my 
Soul was in raptures beyond Expression, infinately Happy, 
While Jesus reigns so lovely in my poor unworthy heart — 
I am at a loss for language to express my God, in such won- 
ders as he discovers unto me a poor insignificant Worm of 
the Earth. 

Friday 7. I arose with a heart fild with Struggles for 
more grace — my body thro the effects of much and hard 
preaching calls aloud for more of the sweet presence of the 

A Journal of James Meacham 85 

helper of the Helpless. I have ever made it a point of Con- 
science to fast on this day, but oft times feel the weighty 
effects of the same prejudicial to my Preaeh'g. I took horse 
for my next Stage where I found many precious Souls wait- 
ing for the precious word of the Gospel. — To whom I cryed 
many are the Atnictions of the Kighteous but the Lord deln> 
ereth him out of them all; a season of Grace indeed. Met 
the Glass with much weakness of body and took Horse for 
eveg appointment. — where I met several of my dear old 
friends which I had not Seen for a considerable Span of 
time. I preached a considerable and then rode 5 or b' Miles 
to lodge, by this my poor body was well nigh Spint. 
Yet bless God my Soul was kept as a marracle of grace happy 
in Gods Holy love — from my feelings I did not Expect to 
rest scarcely any that evening but honour to God a sweeter 
nights rest I rearly ever enjoy — the Xext Morning rose 
happy in Soul and took horse for my next Stage with my 
Bro. & Sister AC with me. We had an Uncommon (time) of 
Grace and love indeed, Jesus was there, my Soul felt a fresh 
spring for Glory, after Meeting Glass to Horse to meet Bro 
M inter at our bro. M. AL where we by Appt. meet once in 
2 weeks — I bless God it was Sanctified an Infinite blessing 
to raj poor Soul. Lord let me be one of the Humble and 
Meek that shall see the great Glorious Kingdom of God. 

Sunday 'J. This day I spoke to a large Audience of peo- 
ple — my Soul was much blessed in Speaking — uncommon 
attention — a great Time of love, I trust long to be remem- 
bered. Rode for 10 Miles to rest. The rain came upon me 
and wet me considerable but bless God — my often geting 
•" I never proved very fatal as yet. 

Monday 1<». this Morning I feel much disordered — my 
poor little Fenament much impaired. Lord stand by. I 
ipoke from these words of Saint Paul — Blest of him are you 
in Christ Jesus etc. Uncommon hardness attened the peo- 
pie* happy Class Meeting, 2 Souls born again. 

Luesday 11. Rode to my next Stage where generally 

86 Historical Papers 

many dear People attends on the word of the Lord. I spoke 
from J no, 5-6. great attention rested among the people, a 
time of great power — weeping on every side. Persecution 
arose very warmly. — in all of this time I felt an uncommon 
love for the precious Souls of my dear fellow mortals, we 
had a general Struggle for and with Sinners. 

Wednesday 12. this Morning I arose with prayer in my 
heart to God. but was much oppressed with Heaviness and 
Sorrow. Took horse for my next Stage, called in and break- 
fast with Dear bro T. L. — we joined in prayer to give God 
the Glory of all things. I felt something of the presence of 
my Master on my way to my next Stage, I felt very Solemn 
and Awful, about 12 oclock I reached my people awaiting. 
— after introducing the worship with praise, we with one 
consent joined in prayer — how the Lord was pleased to 
break into my poor Soul with power. A sweet time in Chm 
Meeting — I was infinitly in my God. Rode liome (this 
Evening) with dear bro. A. G. a dear Holy Man of God — 
as we rode, we converst about Politicall and Spiritual Mat- 
ter, we particularly observed the reality of religion, and that 
faithfulness was Required, as an Excellent grace or Qualifi- 
cation to resist Hell in all its attempts. So we freely 
opened hearts and minds to each other — here was a doore 
for every fals Imagination to be removed. — O that God may 
give me grace always to act to his Glory. Amen. 

Thursday 13. this Morning I felt barren, the ]N"eed of a 
continual looking unto God. — Lord give Strength — I must 
now prepare to meet my Adversary and poor Sinners, to 
reason and fight for my Master. Took horse for my Stage, 
found a few dear people waiting for me. Text was Psa. 146. 
8. The Lord openeth the Eyes of the blind ; the Lord raiseth 
them that are bowed down, ihe Lord loveth the Righteous — 
Great was our consolation of Spirit. Rode home with Bro. 
H., his children wicked around him. — my Spirit felt in a 
measure bound in Soul — no place of retirement — my Soul 
was hungry. — I strove to pray as I sat in my chair. So 

A Journal of James 1\Ieacha:m: 87 

persued rnv business of writing — compleating my little Sys- 
tem of Divinity — this Eveng Bro. E. T, came to see me — 
much Comfort and Satisfaction in Eveng Meditation. — 
Retired back to the house — Family prayer came on, my Soul 
was uncommonly led out after the fullness of God: several 
young people (wicked) — what a feeling God gave me for 
them. I prayed and warned them faithfully, and so lay i 
down to res~ — but the next Morn, they arose and left the 
house before prayer. I hope the Spirit of God will not 
leave nor forsake them. 

Friday 14. this Morning I felt more than comm< 
weak in body. As usual I fasi and pray fervently this day 
of the weak for Zions general prosperity. I took horse with 
much weakness of body for Bro. T. T. where our good pious 
Sister Jones lives, but few people to hear me. I spak from 
Psa : 34 — a season of grace indeed. Met the little class — the 
sweet presence of the Lamb was there — after preaching and 
class I fell into discourse with Sister S. J. about Sanctifi- 
cation — that blessed work — may God spread it thro America, 
She shew me many of her letters from our preachers & people 
which began to cindle fiame of desire in my Soul for m i 
of the IMind of my dear well beloved, amongst which she 
shewed me one of dear Ero. Okelly ? s Journals for the year 
36 —in the Evening I retired to read it and to embrace prayer 
.ind Meditation — how was it. my Soul leaped as an heart 
within me for joy. whin I have clear view of the God — 
Itinerant plan, the progress of our building here be] 
Soul is lost yea lost I say again, lost for language to de- 
lare the Unutterable Joy of Heaven in my heart. — that 
God ever take such an insignificant dust as me. and put 
into this most glorious work. Lord how shall I praise thee. 
§ i1 irday 15. this morning my poor Soul is happy yea 
happy beyond expression — Took horse for the Xext Stag 
I ' • Bro, EasterSj Sister Jones with me. Bro. Samuel 
loung a young convert set out to take a tower round the 
Circuit with me. O that God mav Sancitifv an infinite 

88 Historical Papers 

Blessing to his dear Soul. Lord help me to lay the Example 
before him. I arrive to my Stage — a few dear people wailing 
for the word to whome I eryed. the Snare is broken and 
Satra The Lord was present with us in Class M'g. Rode 
home with dear Bro. C. Some comfort in my Evening Med- 
itation- — Family prayer the Lord broke in in an uncommon 
Manner, upon our poor lean Souls — a time of rejoicing. 
Lay down to rest happy. Some time in the ^ight — I judge 
near the Middle watch — I awaked in raptures of Heaven by 
the sweet Echo of Singing in the Kitchen among the dear 
Black people (who my Soul loves). I scarcely ever heard 
anything to equal it upon earth. I rose up and strove to join 
them — ah — I felt the miserably weight of oppression Intol- 
erable upon my heart — while the proud whites can live in 
luxury and abomination making a mock of God and his word, 
the African upholds him by his Swet and labour of his will- 
ing hands — and if they serve the Lord God it must be in 
the dead of night when they ought to be taking rest to their 
bodys, blood, blood how aweful it Cryes up before God, 
against my poor unjust professing Bro — well I must have 
patience — hope God will work for his own Glory. 

Sunday 16. this Morning my whole System of iSTature 
seems to be confus'd. Took Horse for my Stage — large 
concourse of people. I felt umch indisposed to speak by 
reason of my indisposition of body, but I dare to refuse — 
great attention while I spoke from I Peter 4, 18. Xone 
misbehaved only 2 men that ware more like Ragamuffins, 
than Rational Men. I hope there will be fruit found at the 
last day. — Rode home with my good bro. and sister J. O. I 
felt uncommonly poorly, therefore I must needs Glory, I 
will Glory of the things which concern my infirm ityes — 
for I have nothing whereof to glory outwardly. jSToon will 
I pray unto my God for in God I have put my trust — I will 
not be afraid what Man can do unto me — this Evening I 
had a blessed Shower from Heaven as I lay up stairs mus- 
ing on the Glorified State of the Saints — the dear Sister 

A Journal of James Meacham so 

below began singing these words — O that day when free I 
from living I shall see thy lovely face, Clothed in blood 
washed lining (sic), How I'll Sing thy Sovereign , grace ; 
it was like fire to a multitude of Powder, my Soul eatehed 
it as lightning, from thence I catched a Bro. just by and 
so the second untill we raised a shout to God — a time of 
power in family prayer. O how I felt for Sinners — O that 
dear Mother of mine — what a struggle I felt in my soul for 
her. I laid me down to rest in much pain of body. 

Monday 17. this Morning as I awok I felt a rack all 
over my Xervous System. God give grace and Strength for 
the day — -my labour is too hard for the strength of my body 
— I dont know that I have thought of living long in the 
sweet work but I wish to die in the cause. Yea sometime 
I wish to die in the Pulpit. I am now where I expect to 
preach today by the grace of God to a few simple hearted 
people — I spoke from these words. What is Man &c. Some 
degree of liberty but little (or) no good done. Sweet class 
Meeting — my Soul tasted the grace. 

Tuesday 18. rode to my next Stage bro. T. & bro. O. with 
me, few people — I had some degre of liberty in speaking— 
I felt for Sinners, a time of love, bro. S. R. from Brunswick 
CTt. met the Class — this Eving we all had watch TsTight, good 
in any people — I thought to have spoke but a little while, and 
so for my other bros. to have preached after me. I began 
a little after eight o'clock and spoke untill about half after 
I I'll oclock. O how near the Lord laid sinners to my poor 
heart — Weeping was on every side yet none converted — 
about i oclock we got to rest. My soul is happy in God. 
sleeping or waking — Glory to my God — not a cloud doth 
arise to darken the skies or hide for one moment my lord 
ir®m my (-yes. 

Wednesday 19. bro. Ogburn spoke for me — my body well 
nigh spent — a time of power indeed — in the evening to old 
Bro. Meiones — here we had a season of grace. 

Umrsday 20. fhis morning I want to be swallowed up in 

90 Historical Papers 

my God. after a little -Breakfast I took a walk under the 
green shady Bowers and there spent the time in prayer and 
Meditation untill 12 Ocloek, then repaired to face my enemy. 
To whome I cryed these be they who separate themselves, 
sensual^ having not the Spirit. &e. people behaved badly. 
Several stayed in Class Meeting. Some join'd — here a poor 
black Man began to get happy with Shouting — a poor young 
backslider began to laugh at him, whome I sharply reproved 
and asked him if he was not ashamed and told him if it was 
me I would go out at the dore if I could not behave no better 
— he gave me a silly look grited k gnashed his Teeth and 
out he went. I looked for him afterwards but could not 
find him. 

Friday 21. this Morning I feel very much oppressed with 
peevishness of Spirit. Rode to my next appointment, but 
few people — to whome I cryed Ye know the grace of our Lord 
Jesus Christ &e. happy Class Meeting — the Evening several 
blacks came to meet me, as they cannot come to preaching in 
the day they came out many of a night, the Lord pour'd 
down his Spirit on the dear people both white and black, 
a time of love indeed to my poor Soul. I felt God above 
me Soul and body. — O what a heaven I felt within. 

Saturday 22. this Morning I feel uncommonly poorly by 
reason of the repeted effects of much and hard preaching 
night and day. Took horse for my next Stage — I found a 
few simple hearted people waiting to whome 1 cryed Submit 
yourselves therefore unto God &c. a Melting time indeed 
among the Christians: it was a weight of Gods love like 
Eternity. Sinners stood amazed and trembled, wept and 
pray'd, O how was it my Soul was so bountifully filled with 
God — this Evening rode to meet bro. Minter — with him 
came dear bro. II. Jones one of our travelling preachers, who 
was appointed to ride the Banks Ct. got part of his way, 
was taken Sick and returned again, — little bro. Pool with 
him, a young bro. That I hope my God will make a preacher — 
a seasonable time of grace, I hope lunge to be Remembered. 

A Journal of James Meacham 91 

Sunday 23. this Morning bro. Minter and myself met in 
Band — my Soul was much blest in the enjoyment of the 
Same. 1 have been often tempted, by the feeling of Nature 
and the many oppositions which arise from various Quar- 
ters that I was not tit to Stand or Speak for God. — that 
no preacher ever was so exercised and tempted as I was, 
but the Devil is a liar from the beginning. Every preacher 
rinds his own trials which are many. Rode to my next 
Stage — Xuinber of people — -bro. Miles Green from B. Ct. 
Preached from these words— to make ready a people pre- 
pared for the Lord — a season of grace indeed. Meeting 
this Evening at bro. Droomgois. I began to speak on the 
goodness of God to Sinners in puting so many Privileges 
into their hands to make there calling and election sure — a 
time of power with my Soul. 

Monday 24. took horse for my next Stage bro. M. G. 
with me, he spoke, strive to enter in at the straight gate 
kc. A great time of love among the people of God — here 
I parted with bro. M. G. and rode to my next Stage. Much 
soreness in my lungs. 

Tuesday 25. few people — a hard Struggle for victory — at 
last the cloud broke and the people shouted — Lord carry on 
thy work among the people. 

Wednesday 26. I preached at Kixes ford in the Court- 
house, few people Jfo prospects — rode home with bro. Jno 
Myrick — happy this evening in prayer and Meditation. Fam- 
ily prayer — the Lord blessed almost every one in the House 
— a great power among the Blacks — may the Lord save them. 

Thursday 27. this Morning I feel the need of faith and 
patience. Took horse for my next Stage, a few people, I 
.-pake from I Peter 3. 10. 11. 12. Happy time in the first 
prayer — a poor man sat as if he was nailed to the seat — I 
prayed fur him sincerely — as Soon as prayer was over he 
took his hat and with resentment went home. — I hope God 
will follow him — this evening rode to bro. B. T. — met bro. 
II. P. from Bartie. Several of the friends and Sinners 

02 Historical Papers 

came out to prayer — a time of the power of the Lord among 
the people, good Xewa from every Quarter, the Lord 's a 
binding Sinners to his Gospel Septre. — I bless God for the 
Measure of love I feel toward all Mankind for Christ Sake. 
Friday 2S. this day I expect to fast and pray. Preached 
and Exhort, with all long SurrV rings. Sinners to come to 
God : a little time of love among the dear people of God. In 
the evening rode to bro. Sanreys. Bartie Circuit, Where I met 
a large congrgation. to whome I cryed what is Man that thou 
art mindful of him or the Son of Man that thou so visitest 
him — I divided it into three heads as follows. 

1. thus to Show the primevial Rectitude of Man. 

2. Consider Man in his state of apostasy. 

3. Advance Som Scripture Demonstrations of the visita- 
tions of God to Man to bring him unto a State of acceptance 

I opened the first proposition in a few Sentences- — In open- 
ing the Second head, the Lord poured down his Spirit upon 
the people- — a general outcry for Mercy and the Xoise of 
the Shout of Joy. Soon over whemxd (by) my preaching 
I sat me down and sweetly drank into the sweet spirit of 
peace, Righteousness, Joy and love. I felt an uncommon 
desire for Sinners to come to the knowledge of Truth and 
live. how beautiful and how pleasant an aspect I saw 
with my eyes — Several small children happy in the Lord, 
aclaping their hands with shouts of Glory to the holy one 
of Israel. 

Saturday 29. this Morning I feel but very poorly in my 
body — Took Horse for my Circuit & Stage again. Several of 
the Dear Bertheren with me, — about 12 oclock I reached 
my Stage where I found a few precious Souls waiting for 
the word of the Lord. I went up stares as usual, but could 
not fix my mind upon any particular portion of Scripture 
to preach from — I went down and introduced the Solemn 
worship of God with Singing and prayer — after prayer these 

A Journal of James Meacham 93 

words run through my mind with Spirit and life — Wilt thou 
l>e Made whole \ J no. 5-6. I opened it as follows, 

1. I opened the wound in the Soul. 

2. Pointed out the Phisieian and his means of recovery. 

3. I shewed what was imployed in being made whole. 

4. Inforced the important Question Wilt thou he mad v e 
whole — a Small degree of Liberty in Speaking to the first 
and second heads of doctrine, — by this time my bodily 
strength failed me — this is Something that I cannot account 
for — when my Strength of body fails it cuts my ideas Short 
— we had a happy time in ('lass. Many sweet shouts of 
Glory to God: after preaching took Horse and rode to bro. 
Ms. — many was my exercises this Evening — I began to read 
the Journal of dear Bro. J. Mintern one of our travelling 
preachers — it was the first part of his Journal from his Cra- 
dle to Manhood and thence to conviction repentance unto 
Salvation. ?,nd to his Calls to preach the Gospel of Christ 
It attracted my Spirit and finding Something that bore a 
witness in my Soul of the reality thereof, that it was ren- 
dered an Infinite blessing to my Soul. I retired among the 
silent groves to meet with Jesus, to read the Journal, pray 
and Meditate — I found time so sweet and precious, that the 
silent watches of that night Ag* 28&9 witnesseth the Integ- 
rity of my Importunity with God. In this sweet space of 
time several of the Young Sisters also retired in private 
devotion to God. but was soon filed with raptures of praise 
to God, so that the sound thereof was heard afare off. 

Sunday 30. this morning I find many conflicts with the 
Enemy. Took horse for my Stage where a large Xumber of 
sonJs appeared with decency — I Spoke from Jude. 19. 20. 20. 
In my Introduction I shewed the rise and fall of our old 
Church — basted the Hireling well by the grace of God. — 
I did not feel the least touch of the fear of men of Devils — 
and then proceeded to shew the authenticity of our Church, 
its foundation — Its maker and builder is God. 2ndly Shewed 
the Separatest Sensual having not the Spirit. Srdlv but 


94 Historical Papers 

Ye beloved building up yourselves. &c. the Strength of my 
body was well nigh spent. I called upon one of our pious 
bros. to conclude but he did not speak long before the Meas- 
ure of his cup was tilled with Joy so that he could not 
stand — by this time the Lord was all over the church — I 
called for bro. F. C. to go to prayers. O the outpouring of the 
Spirit of the (Lord) was great: — the dear black people was 
rilled with the power & spirit of God and began with a great 
Shout to give Glory to God — this vexed the Devil. He en- 
tered into the cruel whitemen with violence (who) eagerly 
ran into the Church with sticks clubs and caines — abeating 
and abusing the poor Slaves them outcast of Men for prais- 
ing of God — O America how she groans under the burden of 
Slavery — Remark — a Magestrate, that has take the oath, 
was the Instagator of it — with his blody hand Stretched out 
against God and in the hands of Satan his father strives to 
prevent the worke of the Lord and establishes vice and Im- 
morality. I hope God will by Some turn of providence re- 
move him from his office and replace another. — With bitter 
oaths and gnashing of teeth he put up a prayer that we the 
preachers was all in Some Miserable Infernal Place. I 
think he ought to be presented and oncommissioned ! — What 
think Ye ? I think if ever I saw happy people it was today 
under persecution — O the tears, screams, crys and groans for 
the wicked it was awful. — T looked out at the window while 
I stood at the desk and behold ; a poor black bro. lucked me in 
the face, with bursting grief tears of blood, roling down his 
bruised face, and cryed, this is what I have got for praising 
of my dear Jesus. — It reached my poor heart, I beged him to 
bare it for Christ Sake, he would Soon (if he was faithful) 
be out of the reach of their Clubs — O how can I rest when I 
see my bro unhumanely intreated. O America. America; 
blood and oppression — will be thy overthrow. So I took 
horse for my next Stage — this Evening thro Mercy I safely 
arrived there with Several more of the Bretheren. — When 
our Horses and bodvs was comfortabiv refreshened — thence 

A Journal of James Meacham 95 

I retired with bro. G. K. & T. C. for private devotion — the 
Lord met with us in a sweet manner. — We bad a Sm^rr 
combat with the Enemy — at last Jesus crowned bro. 0. H. 
with victory — he cryed out Victory, Victory and Jesus, I 
have Seen thee. Let the Earth drink my blood before ever 
] submit to captivates by the Devil. — we still rasled ip 
prayer to God — in a few minutes bro. F. C. broke thro an 1 
rejoiced in God his Saviour with Raptures unspeakable — 
while the Spirit of victory bid my feeble Soul to fear not — 
I felt a little Heaven within — peace sweetly Harmonizing ev- 
ery power — O Jesus keep me more humble and aive rne more 
grace, could I find some swifter way to gloryfy my dear 
Master — my every prayer diligently be employed to his 
New and living work. Supper was set, and then family 
prayer. how Jesuses sweet lovely features attracted my 
whole Souls attention — I gazed upon him with unspeakable 
delight. hew ail Nature rejoiced with my SouL I laid 
me down to rest with Jesus in my Soul 

Monday 31. this Mornin°; I awoked in the sweet spirit oi 
peace, the first thing every Morning after puting on my 
Appal, is to pay my vows unto the Lord. I must now lay 
down my pen to prepare for publick preaching. — a few peo- 
ple to whome I cryed ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus 
< 'hrist &c — a time of love and power among the Christians — 
happy class Meeting. I have so often observed the blessed 
Effects of the class Meeting that I highly esteem it, one of 
the richest pastures we enjoy — it appears if we were not to 
enjoy that privilege our people (would ) soon be a lump or 
body of formality. 

.,..'..,•„.,.•..„'■, ■.•■v . .... ....-.., ■■Vic.'i.'Sj 


f [ : • i; y i t i ; 



3 X 


Historical Papers 

Published by the Trinity 
College Historical Society 

ist^ 3 


Series X 

19 14 



Prefatory Note 3 

Reconstruction in Cleveland County — /. R. Davis. . 5 

The Quakers and the North Carolina Manu- 
mission Society — P. M. S her rill 32 

Currency and Banking in North Carolina 

1790-1836— W. K. Boyd 52 

A Journal and Travel of James Meacham II 87 


The three essays in this series of Historical Papers are the 
work of members of the Trinity College Historical Society. 
The first two were written by members of the class of 1914 
of Trinity College and the third by the Professor of History 
in that institution. For most of the manuscript of James 
Meacham's Journal and Travel the Historical Society is in- 
debted to Mr. G. N. Meacham of Atlanta, Ga. 

Wm. K. Boyd, 
For the Committee on Publication, 
October 1, 1914. 


Reconstruction in Cleveland County 

By J. R. Davis 



I. Origin and DescriDtion of Cleveland County; Condition 

in 1860 5 

I!. Cleveland's Part in the Civil War 10 

III. Social and EconDmic Conditions during Reconstruction 13 

IV, Educational Reconstruction 16 

V. The Churches During Reconstruction 17 

Vi. Changes in County Government 19 

VI I. Secret Organizations 22 

VIII. Political Parties During Reconstruction 29 

I. Origin and Description of Cleveland County 

During the session of the Legislature of North Carolina 
in the year 1841, Dr. W. T. Miller of Rutherford County in- 
troduced a bill to form a new county, to be formed partly 
from Rutherford and partly from Lincoln counties. 1 By the 
assistance of Honorable Michael Hoke and John Bunyan of 
Lincoln County the bill passed the legislature. 2 The new 
county was named Cleveland in honor of Colonel Benjamin 
Cleveland of Wilkes County; and the county seat, Shelby, in 
honor of Colonel Isaac Shelby. Both of these gentlemen play- 
ed an important part in the battle of Kings Mountain, October 
7, i?8G, : 

The purpose in chartering the new county was to enable 

:hy physician who lived in the southern part of 
erford County to help form Cleveland. After 
irter for the new county, he represented Cleve- 

" •.-•v:.r '.-, L<tws l.v--,i 41, of North Carolina, 
rt Drapers "King's Mountain and its Heroes." 

6 Historical Papers 

the people of the lower part of Rutherford and the western 
part of Lincoln to have a Court House and common meeting 
place of their own. The territory of Rutherford and Lincoln 
was so large that many of the inhabitants were too far away 
from the Court House. The people in the territory which is 
now Cleveland had been complaining for quite a while. As 
early as 1836 a mass meeting of all the citizens of lower 
Rutherford and western Lincoln met to petition the legisla- 
ture for a new county. The following account of the meeting 
appeared in the Carolina Gazette, of Rutherford County, 
edited by Gray Bunyan : — 

"A numerous assemblage of the citizens of the lower part of 
Rutherford County and the upper part of Lincoln County convened 
at the dwelling house of Teator Beam on Thursday, September 22, 
for the purpose of consulting together upon the expediency of peti- 
tioning to the next General Assembly for redress of their grievances 
so long endured by reason of the extent of territory composing the 
two counties and the consequent remoteness from their respective 
Court Houses, whereupon the meeting was organized by appointing 
George Cabaniss, Esq., chairman, and William Roberts secretary. On 
motion of Dr. W. J. T. Miller a committee of six from each county 
was appointed to take the subject into consideration, to wit: John 
Niell, James S. Oates, John Roberts, Robert Falls, Joshua Beam, and 
William Graham on the part of Lincoln County, Samuel Bailey, 
Yancey 'Reisendine, Thomas Roberts, Isaac I. Irvine. George Cabaniss, 
and William Covington for the County of Rutherford, who reported 
that the secretary prepare a petition to be presented to the citizens 
of said counties for their signatures and that the same be laid before 
the ensuing General Assembly praying that a new county be establish- 
ed, beginning on the South Carolina line at a point so that a line due 
north will strike the mouth of second Broad River, thence a direct 
line to Burke line so as to pass near the cross roads at John Smith's 
and thence by Seretzie's, thence with the Burke line to the Lincoln 
line, thence to the South Carolina line running near Thomas Black's, 
Isaac White's, William Cloteese's on Crowder's Creek, thence with 
the South Carolina line to the beginning. Which report being un- 
animously concurred in, the proceedings were ordered to be published 
in the "Carolina Gazette" and the "Lincoln Transcript" for the 
space of thirty days. 


October 6, 1836."* 

* A copy of this petition was secured from Mrs. T. C. Borders, who had in 
her scrap book a newspaper clipping which contained the petition. 

Recokstkuction ix Cleveland County 7 

The assemblage of citizens above mentioned must have been 
the genesis of Cleveland County history. The members of 
that meeting deserve to be remembered, for their efforts were 
awarded in 1841 by the grant of a charter for the new 

Cleveland lies in the southwestern part of the State. It 
is bounded on the south by the South Carolina line, on the 
west by Rutherford and McDowell counties, on the north 
bv Burke County, and on the east by Lincoln and Gaston 
counties. The area of the county is four hundred and twenty 
square miles, or 268.800 acres. 

The general slope of the county is to the south. The sur- 
face is somewhat rolling, especially in the northern part, 
where small chains of mountains are found. The most level 
portion is in the southern part. The soil is generally sandy, 
especially in the level sections. 

The county is dotted with streams, such as rivers, creeks, and 
spring brooks. Many of these streams have been harnessed 
and are generating much power — power which is utilized in 
running cotton gins, factories, corn mills, etc. The valleys 
along these streams abounded in early days with many herds 
of fleet- footed deer, dens of clumsy brown bears, fierce wild 
cats and panthers, and many beavers built their dams on the 
creeks. These beavers were responsible for the name Beaver 
Dam as applied to the western section of the County. 

Transportation facilities were exceedingly poor in the early 
years of the county, — there being no good highways nor rail- 
roads. The first dirt road of any consequence to be estab- 
lished across the county was laid off in 1852. The road 
from Lincoln County via Froenberger's Paper Mill to the 
upper Island's Ford and thence to the South Carolina line 
in the direction of Greenville, South Carolina, was thus opened 
up. The first overseers of the above road were F. L. Hoke, 
from Shelby to the old county line road, Lewis Gardner, 
from there to Yarboros, and Newton Long from Yarboros to 
the Gaston Line, and John W. Logan, from his home to the 
Rutherford line, with all the hands within three miles of said 
foad to cut it out and keep it up. 6 

, K See the Mss. Minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Session of Cleve- 
land County. 

8 Historical Papers 

The first railroad to be built across the county was not con- 
structed until after the War between the States. Cleveland, 
though, voted in 1857 for one thousand shares in the Wil- 
mington, Charlotte, and Rutherfordton Railroad, but this road 
was not built through the county until 1872. The vote in the 
election for shares in the road stood 698 to 502. A tax of 
fifty cents was levied on the poll to pay for the railroad 
stock. However, bonds were issued and sold at 7 per cent 
interest to pay for the above mentioned shares. 7 

The early settlers of the county were Scotch-Irish and 
Germans. They came in the early part of the eighteenth cen- 
tury from Pennsylvania and Virginia. These, as many other 
settlers, came to America seeking religious and economic free- 
dom and finding those two colonies too crowded moved on into 
North Carolina. Among those of the Scotch Irish, settlers 
were the Aliens, Armstrongs, Berkleys, Barnetts, Coopers, 
Coxes, Davises, Grahams, Hunters, Jettons, Kings, Stacys, 
Thompsons. Alexanders, Beatys, etc. Some of the early Ger- 
man names in the county were Beam, Anthony, Bellinger, 
W r eber, Hoke, Hull, Lutz, Plunk, Schenck, Workman, Heil 
(Hoyles), Jonas (Jones). Many of the above still retain the 
Scotch-Irish and German accent. In some instances Weber 
has changed to Weaver, Heil to Hoyle, etc. 

The population of Cleveland for 1860 was 12,348 or an 
increase of about two thousand over 1850. Of these, 2,131 
were slaves. The largest slave owner was Mr. Froenberger, 
who lived near Buffalo Creek in the eastern part of the County 
and ran an iron and paper factory in which he worked about 
one thousand slaves. With the exception of Mr. Froenberger, 
the slave owners possessed on an average about five to ten 
slaves each. 8 The average size of the farms was small. A 
great many of them ranged from two hundred to three hundred 
acres. 9 One reason for so many small farms and small slave 
owners is that there were no nearby markets to encourage 
large scale productions. Also the farmers were ignorant of 
the modern scientific methods of farming. Therefore it was 
impossible for them to produce abundant crops on soil that 

T See minutes of the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions of Cleveland County 
for 1857 and 1859. 
s Census for 1360. 
9 Ibid. 

Reconstruction in Cleveland County 9 

required fertilization and rotation sufficiently to make slavery 
profitable even if they had had a market for their products. 
They cultivated only the rich spots and left the poor lands tor 
pasturing. The following - statistics will give an idea of how 
much farming was done in the County in I860: 1 " 

Ginned cotton, bales of 476 

Corn, bushels of , 379,985 

Wheat, bushels of S6.317 

Oats, bushels of ,...22,099 

Tobacco, pounds of 24,317 

Wine, gallons of 246 

It is interesting to note that there were only 476 bales of 
cotton ginned in 1860 as compared to 23,474 in 1913. 

As mentioned above, there were no convenient markets. 
The farmers had to haul their products either to Columbia 
or Charleston. South Carolina. The above table shows that 
24,317 pounds of tobacco were produced; today there is none. 
Most of the tobacco was carried to Columbia for sale. The 
method of carrying it is different from that of the twentieth 
century. The tobacco was packed in an immense hogshead, 
a cylinder was put through the center, shafts were fastened 
to each end of this to which a horse was hitched. In this 
manner the hogshead was rolled to a distant market over the 
rough roads and through the small streams, yet the tobacco 
remained dry and uninjured. 11 

There was some manufacturing in the county before the 
war. The women made nearly all the cloth for clothing the 
family ; the men made the shoes and the hats. Moreover, in 
the Sharon settlement there was a pioneer hat factory. The 
hatters took the hides of muskrats, otters, and minks, fastened 
them to a fiat table, ten feet from which was fastened a large 
bow and string. The string was caught in the middle, pulled 
back arm's length and let fly, thereby cutting the fur from 
the hide. The hide was then boiled and cut into circles large 
enough for hats. The circular piece of hide was put into 
tiic shape of a hat and then a string was tied around it. 12 
These hats would last for several years. They usually sold 

p ?* ""rative of Mr. W. H. Miller who yet lives in Cleveland County. 

10 Historical Papers ■ 

for $3.00. The folowing statistics show just how much manu- 
facturing was done in I860. There were in ah thirty-five 
establishments; capital invested, $126,934; cost of material, 
$38,780; number of employees, 96; amount paid for wages, 
$16,944, and the value of the products, $97,380. 15 According 
to the above the manufacturing industries must have been 
very small and run on a very small scale. 

Notwithstanding the fact that there were no large slave 
owners or immense manufacturing establishments, the major- 
ity of the farmers in the county were good livers. There were 
scattered here and there a few who were exceedingly pros- 
perous. Here is a glimpse of one of these wealthy homes. 
Crowning a hill that over-shadows Buffalo Creek, whose 
waters were used in the manufacture of iron, there were 
two large two-story buildings, each containing only two rooms 
in each story, but these rooms were of immense size. For 
doorsteps there were massive hewn rocks. At the huge fire- 
place were iron hearths with cast iron backs. Here presided 
abundant hospitality and the owner made big money manu- 
facturing iron. He possessed six of the finest mules in the 
county, which, with bells on their harness, attracted the at- 
tention and admiration of all who saw them. 14 The above 
is a specimen of the home of a prosperous southern gentle- 
man before the war. The above mentioned dwelling house 
is still standing in good condition, and has been standing for 
over a century. 

II. The War Period 

In 1861 the call came to the farmers in Cleveland to leave 
their homes and support the cause of secession. The call 
was answered in May, 1861, when Miss Zulia Durham, now 
Mrs. Green, who yet lives in Shelby, presented the flag to one 
hundred gallant soldiers under the leadership of A. W. Bur- 
ton. 15 Miss Durham, who was then only fifteen years old, to- 
gether with a few other ladies of the town, made tne flag one 
night and Miss Durham presented it next morning to the com- 
pany with the following words: 

18 Census of i860. 

"Narrative of Mr. W. PL Miller. 

15 Narrative of Mrs. Zulia Green. 

Reconstruction in Cleveland County 11 

"To the Cleveland Guards: 

We, in tlie name of the ladies of Shelby, present you this flag. 
It is to assure you of the deep interest we feel in this coming crisis. 
Regardless oi northern scoffing and southern terrorism you have at 
last faced your destiny and may the gods of battle assist you to main- 
tain the honor of the Old North State and defend those rights main- 
tained by our forefathers on the 20th of May 1775 — We have 
adopted the flag of the Confederate States, whose interests are in- 
separable from our own, and for the purpose of expressing our heart- 
felt sympathy for. and co-operation with our noble brothers of the 
Sunny South — Those hands shall unfurl this banner to the breezes 
and it will never be lowered at the command of the hired minions of 
old Lincoln. Our cause is just and God will be with us. May you 
who have sacrihed your greatest interests to come forward and seek 
eagerly to defend your country at every hazard return r>ack to your 
fond homes and kindred uninjured. We bid you God's speed." 16 

A week later, May 27, 1861, ninety-six mountain boys of 
Cleveland led by Captain W. S. Corbet 17 marched oft to war. 
On the flag of Corbet's company was the picture of a pine 
tree with a rattle snake coiled around it. The motto of the 
company was. "If you step on me I will bite you."' 1? The 
patriotic gentlemen of Cleveland volunteered freely and rapid- 
ly to fight for the cause of secession. It is claimed that more 
men went from Cleveland in proportion to the voting 
population than from any other county in the State. 19 On 
one occasion the patriotic men of the county in order to show 
their loyalty to the South secured an old cannon that was 
used in the battle of Cowpens, South Carolina, during the 
Revolutionary War. brought it to Shelby and fired it all night, 
burning up three kegs of powder. They fired first in honor 
of the states that joined the Confederacy, second in honor of 
the State of North Carolina, and lastly in honor of secession. 
The last shot was loaded so heavy that it burst the old canon 
and jarred every window-light out of the Court House.-" 
On the next day there was a big barbecue in Shelby and 
speeches on secession. By the latter part of 1861 the county 

taken from the original manuscript which is still in the possession of Mrs. 
Green, who yet lives in Shelby. 

-- Corbet was captain of Company B in the 49 the regiment. (See 
r:cn:a! Historv.) ' 

„£. rrative of Mrs. T. G. Borders. 

1 tere sere in all 2,800, while the voting population was onlv 1,800, accord- 
:ment of Captain S. A. Hoey, of Company H, 34th Regiment. 
!r yitive of -Mr. Samuel Randall, a Confederate soldier, wno yet lives in 
tthern part of the County. 

12 Historical Papers 

was drained of its men; many of the scattered schools were 
deserted, and the farms and manufacturing establishments 
were left for the old men, women and children to manage and 

There were a few Union men in the county who opposed 
secession from the very beginning of the war. These men 
together with W . \V. Holder! through the Standard attempted 
to start a movement for peace in 1863. But Cleveland's sol- 
diers were too firm in their convictions and too set in their 
course to return home with anything less than a victory or a 
defeat. The following letter written for the paper published 
in Shelby at that time shows how the Cleveland soldiers viewed 
the peace agitation of 1863 : 21 

"For the Mountain Eagle :-l 

Mr. Editor: 

I send you the following extracts of a letter from a private in 
Company E. 'Cleveland Guards' for the purpose of showing the 
public that Mr. W. W. Holder! of the Raleigh Standard is mistaken in 
supposing that certain officers only are opposed to his course. The 
gentleman will find to his cost that not only officers, but the rank 
and file are opposed to his Toryism and will be ready at all times to 
spurn and treat with the utmost contempt and to scorn his base and 
perfiduous tinclking to the Yankees." 22 

Orange Court House, 
August 13, 1863. 
Dear Father: 

\[r. has just arrived in camp from Cleveland and brings 

us the news that General is riding over Rutherford County 

making Union speeches, and that a Union Reconstruction flag has been 
run up at the Court House and that several other counties are fol- 
lowing suit. This, if true, is the result of the teaching of the Stand- 
ard. But is it true? Surely the people at home do not think that 
the soldiery is disheartened by the late reverses. I tell you my 
father, the soldiers are more determined now than ever that the inde- 
pendence of the South shall be secured at all hazards. How would 
it look after suffering so many hardships in camp and engaging in 
so many hard-fought battles, and nearly all of which we have been 
victorious, just as the day star is beginning to rise to cowardly back 
down and give up to be subjugated thereby taking upon our neck the 
yoke of old Abe's despotism? Oh, it would be such a burning shame! 

21 This was a democratic paper which favored secession, and was published in 
Shelby during the Civil War. 

-- The foregoing letter is only a sample of the feeling existing in the army 
from Cleveland towards the Reconstruction movement. 

Reconstbuction ix Cleveland County 13 

{ say as a soldier that any man at home or anywhere else that is 
found exerting an influence against the cause we ail should have so 
much at heart should nor only be dressed in petticoats, as suggested 
by some, but shot down as a dog. If the people at home were as de- 
termined for independence as the soldiers in the field and just quit 
for a while their speculations and exhortations, and lend a helping 
hand to those, and the families of those who now stand between them 
and the enemy, we have peace much sooner. 

III. Social and Economic Conditions During 

But finally on April 9, 1865, Cleveland's soldiers were 
forced to give up their hopes for victory and accepr a defeat. 
They returned ro their dilapidated homes with the fixed pur- 
pose of rebuilding their County, but what a task lay before 
them! The farmers who were once wealthy and hVed in 
style and extravagance for their day, were in poverty. The 
emancipation of their slaves and the depreciation of their 
money had deprived them of thousands of dollars and left 
them in distress. 

One of the most disturbing elements in the county was the 
Union Soldiers. Immediately after the war about one hun- 
dred and fifty soldiers came to Shelby, the county seat, and 
took possession of the Court House and Court Square. They 
burned many of the Court records and fed their horses on the 
Court Square. In evening they sang songs which were very 
vexing to the old Confederate soldiers. They also attempted 
to control the county elections and to appoint many of the 
county officers. 23 They were in the county as late as 1872. 
In that year they succeeded in breaking up the annual meeting 
of the Kings Mountain Baptist Association, which was holding 
its session at Bethlehem Church. 24 

The negroes too began to cause much trouble. For the 
first year or two after the war they were pretty quiet. They 
were willing to work at almost any price, but they soon 
grew saucy and boasted exultantly that the bottom was raised 

^Conversation with Mrs. Zulia Green and other?. 

" John R. Logan's History of Kings Mountain and Broad River Baptist 
itsocuHtcn, p. 217. 

14 Historical Papers 

on top. 25 The)' also began to claim social equality. Some 
went so far as to say that they intended to marry white girls. 
They also organized their militia and their secret leagues, 
which I shall describe shortly. 

But the greatest problem that confronted the people of 
Cleveland in 1865 was restoring the economic life of the 
county. When the farmers returned home from the war 
they found their fences torn down and their houses dilapi- 
dated. Their land was becoming dotted with gullies and their 
labor was demoralized. The fifty-seven water wheels which 
were converting the water of the streams into power in 
1860 were in the majority of cases now standing idle and 
many of the dams bursted. 2fj But the farmers were not over- 
come by discouragement. They went to work, although prog- 
ress was indeed slow. The cash value of all farms in 1S70 
was only $686,785 as compared with $1,310,613 in 1860. 
But by 1880 the valuation had reached $2,444,056, or an 
increase of a million dollars over 1860. The value of the 
farm implements in 1870 was not more than two-thirds as 
much as in 1860. The value of live stock had decreased over 
one million dollars. In I860 the value of all live stock in the 
county was $397,837 while in 1870 the value was only $254,- 
297 and in 1880, $248,777. Also there was a great reduction 
in some of the agricultural products. In 1870 there were 
only 415 pounds of tobacco raised, while in 1860 there were 
24,317 produced. This was due to the fact that the farmers 
began to turn to raising cotton after the war. In 1870 there 
were 236,252 bushels of corn raised, while in 1860, 379,985 
bushels had been produced — a decrease of over one hundred 
thousand bushels. But by 1880 the number of bushels had 
increased to 390.281. Cotton in 1870 had increased a little 
over 1860. In 1860 there were 476 bales ginned while in 
1870, 520 bales were produced, and m 1880, 6,126. This in- 
crease must have been due to the fact that the negroes began 
to rent land and farm it themselves, cotton being their favorite 
crop. Many other products were small in comparison to 
I860. 27 The size of the farms remained about the same after 

3 Conversations with many old citizens of Cleveland. 

26 Narrative of oi<? citizens. 

27 Census I860, lb/"0, 1880. (Agriculture.) 

Reconstruction in Cleveland County 15 

the war as before. 28 There were no exceedingly large land 
owners* There were only two men in the county who possess- 
ed over iive hundred acres. In all there were only two thous- 
and two hundred and sixty-one farms and the great majority 
of these ranged from fifty acres to iive hundred. 20 

Progress in manufacturing was more rapid than that in> 
farming. In 1870 there were 84 establishments, which in- 
cluded grist mills, cotton gins, sawmills, etc., while in 1860 
there were only 33. The capitalization of these establishments 
was $124,900; the number of employees was 199, while in 
1860 there were only 96 ; the amount paid for wages was 
$25,627, in 1860 only $16,944, or an average wage of $10 per 
month; the value of the products turned out was $292,126 
or an increase over 1860 of more than 3200,000. zo Among 
some of the largest establishments was the paper and iron 
factory owned by David Froenberger & Company. This 
establishment was located near Buffalo Creek. It was capi- 
talized at $30,000 and produced $50,000 worth of products 
in 1870. There were 19 hands employed at an average wage 
of $25 per month. Among the other establishments was the 
cotton and yarn factory located at Double Shoals. It was 
owned by N, A. Jackson & Company and capitalized at 
$20,000. There were 22 employees in this mill, whose wages 
averaged $8 per month. The value of the products turned 
out in 1870 was $20,400. The remainder of the establish- 
ments were small concerns, such as boot and shoe makers, 
saddlers, harness makers, and all kinds of mechanics — there 
being in all 18 different mechanical shops, such as silver- 
smiths, gun-smiths, wheel-wrights, etc. It seems to have been 
characteristic of Cleveland people for many men to have some 
small trades of their own. 

The valuation of real property in 1870 was only $865,962, 
while in 1860 it was $1,591,337 or a decrease of $735,375. 
But by 1880 real property was valued at $1,001,895. There 
was a still greater loss in personal property. In 1860 the total 
valuation of personal property was $2,488,459, while in 1870 
it was only $554,484. This was due largely to the abolition 

* Ibid. 

"•Census 1870. 

■° Ibid i860, 1870, 1880. 

16 Historical Papers 

oi slavery. The total taxation for 1870 was only $17,659. 
Although the economic condition of the county looked poor 
in 1870. yet the county by 1880 had almost reached the point 
where it stood in 1860. 

IV. Educational Reconstruction 

The schools suffered the same fate that the other organiza- 
tions of the county did. In 1860 there were as many as 
2.537 children enrolled in the public schools of the county. 
However, this did not include all of the children in the county 
between the ages of 6 and 21. In fact, there were more than 
half as many children not going to school as there were in 
attendance. 31 The total amount expended upon the public 
schools for 1860 was S3, 750.06. 32 Most of the schools during 
the war were deserted, but a few, however, were kept open by 
some patriotic ministers who were willing to teach for almost 
nothing. I might mention one typical school which was not 
closed during the war. It was situated in the Sharon settle- 
ment in the southern part of the county. It was a log house 
daubed with mud and was the only school house in a radius 
of about six miles. A log was taken out for a window and 
slabs were used for writing desks and seats. The only book 
that was used was the "Blueback Speller. " Reverend Smith, 
who yet lives in that community, was the teacher for twenty 
years. The salary paid to Mr. Smith averaged about $12 per 
month. 33 The most that was done in the county for educa- 
tion during reconstruction was done through individual effort 
on the part of the teachers as in the above mentioned instance. 
The county as a whole took but little interest in public schools. 
The illiteracy statistics for 1870 show the effect of this neg- 
lect on the part of the county towards education. In 1870 
the total number of children attending schools was only 1,100; 
1,036 of these were white and the remainder colored. In 
1860 there were 2,537 in school attendance. In 1870 the total 
number who could not write was 4,029; 2,940 of these were 
white children and 1,089 colored. In other words, about 30 

„ w Report of J. R. Logan, chairman of County Board of Education, to the 
Bute Superintendent, Public Documents of N. C, 1860. 
- Ibid. 
a Conversation with Reverend Mr. L. L. Smith. 

Reconstruction: is Cleveland County 17 

per cent of the white population and 50 per cent of the negroes 
were completely ignorant. 34 

Before leaving the discussion of the schools it might be well 
to mention the attitude of the people of Cleveland towards 
the issue of mixed schools in the Constitutional Convention of 
1868. The county of Cleveland was bitterly opposed to sucfi 
a possibility. The attitude of the county was expressed 
by Plato Durham, member of the Convention from Cleveland. 
The Committee on Education having made its report, Mr. 
Durham offered an additional section to the report as follows : 

"The General Assembly shall provide separate, and distinct 
schools for the black children of the State from those provided 
for the white children. 1 ' This amendment brought forth a 
warm discussion. Mr. Ashley, the chairman of the Committee, 
immediately offered the following amendment : "It being 
understood that this section is not offered in sincerity, or be- 
cause there is necessity for it, that it is proposed for the 
sole purpose of breeding prejudice and bringing about a poli- 
tical re-enslavement of the colored race." There being only 
thirteen Conservatives in the Convention, Mr. Durham's 
amendment was voted down by a vote of 86 to ll. 35 We can 
naturally infer that the people in Cleveland w r ould oppose any 
scheme to establish mixed schools from the position taken 
towards slavery and secession and the activity of the Ku 
Klux Klan. 

V. Churches During Reconstruction 

. The Civil War had a marked influence upon the history 
of the churches in the county. Before 1860 both the Baptists 
and the Methodists w r ere devoting much effort to missionary 
work and to education and Sabbath schools. 36 But naturally 
the movement for missions and education received a severe 
check by the war between the States — a check which it took 
several years to overcome. But the most important effect 
upon the churches was the separation of the negroes from the 
white churches. Before and during the war the negro had no 
church of his own, but worshipped with the white people, — 

Census of 1870. 

Convention Journal, p. 342. 

See Report of Kings Mountain Baptist Association — J. R. I,ogaa. 

18 Historical Papers 

special seats being arranged for him. In 1861 there were in 

the Methodist Churches alone as many as 200 colored mem- 
bers and 18 who were on probation. 37 By 186-4- the number 
had increased to 237. But as soon as the war was over a 
separation of the races began to take place in all denomina- 
tions. The hrst question to come before the Broad River 
Baptist Association in 1865 was "what to do with the negro." 38 
A committee was appointed to decide whether to let him con- 
tinue to worship with the white people or to help build 
churches for him. The committee decided that no arbitrary 
arrangement could be made, but if the negroes wished to con- 
tinue to worship with the white people they could do so: if 
they did not wish this, it was the duty of the church to help to 
build churches for them. The negroes gradually left the 
white churches and assembled to themselves. By 1872 the 
two races were entirely separated in their worship. Statistics 
taken from the Minutes of the Methodist Conference show 
the gradual decline of negro members from 1865 to 1872. In 
1864 there were 113; in 1866, 70; in 1867, 10; in 1868, 6; and 
by 1872 none. 39 

Although the war had checked progress in the churches, 
in mission work, schools, etc., yet the membership of the 
churches did not suiter. In fact the membership of the 
churches increased more rapidly during the war than in any 
period just previous to it. The war seemed to serve as an 
impetus to get people to join the churches. It is impossible 
to give the exact increase in the Baptist Churches, but the 
Minutes of the Methodist Conference show a marked increase 
in membership from 1860 to 1870. In 1860 there were only 
614 members in all the Methodist Churches in the county and 
35 on probation. In 1861 the enrollment leaped up to 780 
and to 74 on probation; in 1862 to 827 with 102 on probation; 
in 1864 to 993 and in 1865 to 950. In 1866 the number ran up 
to 1135 but by 1872 the enrollment had dropped back to 
965. 40 This increase in membership was the result of the reli- 
gious wave that swept over the entire South during the war. 

The number of churches in the county during tne decades 

w Probation became obsolete during the war. 

88 John R. Logan's History of Broaa kivcr Baptist Association, p. 112. 

~* Minutes of South Carolina Methodist Conference. 

40 Minutes of the South Carolina Conference. 

Reconstruction in Cleveland County 19 

of 1860-70 was 37. — one Presbyterian, 15 Methodist, and 
21 Baptist. The Presbyterian church was located at Shelby 
with Rev. M. N. Shotwell, pastor. The names of the Metho- 
dist churches were Shelby, Mount Harmony, Clover Hill, 
Friendship. Elliott, Rehoboth, Palm Tree, Double Shoals, 
Elbethel, Sherriil, Salem, Mount Tabor, Sulphur Springs,' 
Mount Moriah, and Kistlers. Reverend J. W. Hulbert was 
pastor of the first thirteen and James Deems of the latter two. 
The names of the Baptist Churches together with their pastors 
were as follows : Rev. Shelby Barnett was the pastor of Sandy 
Plains and Shelby; Thomas Dixon of Double Springs, Mount 
Perran, and New Prospects ; J. S. Ezell of Sandy Run, Boil- 
ing Springs, Zoar, Mount Pleasants, and Beaver Dam ; Robert 
Poston of Zion and Mount Bethel; R. P. Logan of Pleasant 
Hill; P. R. Love of Bethelem; L. H. McSwain of Mount 
Sinai; M. N. McSwain of Walls; Pond B. Bonner of Camp 
Creek; Walter Hill of Capernaeum ; Eimer Curry of Mounr 
Zion; and E. A. Poe of Mount Zion. 41 These preachers were 
paid very small salaries and they had to look to their farms and 
some to the teaching profession for their support. In most of 
the churches there was no Sunday School and in those that 
had Sunday School the "Blueback Spelling Book" was used 
in several places. The valuation of all church property was 
only $15,000. This shows that the church buildings must have 
been small and cheap. 

VI. County Government 

The old system of county government was not abolished at 
the close of the war but continued in vogue until the consti- 
tution of 1868 was put into force. This county government 
centered around the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions. 
This little court was the nucleus around which the whole 
county was organized. It was an oligarchy within itself. The 
justices who composed it were appointed by the Governor, in 
turn appointed the county officers, tried civil and criminal 
cases, looked after the public schools, and made internal im- 
provements. In fact, it did what our County Commissioners 
do today, besides its appointive and judicial function. In other 

4i Branson's Business Directory for 1868. 

20 Historical Papers 

words, in order to have a voice in the government of the 
county one had to be a member of this court. But in 1868, 
as I have stated above, this court was abolished and the County 
Commissioners and magistrates for the different townships 
took its place. 

At the close of the war the justices who composed this 
court were turned out of office and provisional Governor Hol- 
den on July 5. 1865 appointed the following men justices: 
John Starnes, B. Goforth, Eli Lutz. Lewis Gardner, A. B. 
Blanton, W. P. Rove, F. S. Hoke, James Roberts, James M. 
Ware, W. YV. Green, Andrew Parker. E. A. Bryan, John F. 
Aydlotte, Jefferson Black, Rufus W. Ouinn, David Beam, R. 
Swann, Washington Harry. J. A. Bumgardner, J. R. Ellis, J. 
Z. Falls, and Peter Peeler. 4 - These men w r ere not satisfactory 
to the people of Cleveland. It was claimed that they were 
not loyal citizens. So on July 14, 1865, 98 citizens of Cleve- 
land signed a petition for the removal of all the disloyal men 
appointed by the Provisional Government. The following 
is the petition: 

County of Cleveland 
State of North Carolina, July 14. 1865. 
His Excellency W, W. H olden, 

Provisional Governor of the 

State of North Carolina : 
Believing it the desire of your Excellency to act in accordance 
with the proclamation of the President of the United States; we the 
loyal citizens of the County of Cleveland do petition your Excellency 
to remove from office those disloyal men whom you have appointed 
through misrepresentation and to appoint loyal men In their stead. 
The names and principles of which will be presented to you by our 
delegeate B. Willis, in whom we have full confidence and whom we 
send to you as our representative to confer with you in our behalf 
in regard to this matter.^ 

The above petition had the desired effect for on July 19, 
Governor H olden wrote a letter to R. Swann stating that 
several of his former appointees had proved disloyal ; that 
their acts would be considered null and void and that he 
wished to appoint the following new men : James Jolly, 
Samuel Young, Newberry Pruitt, William B. McNeely, B. A. 

43 Mss. Letter Book of Governor Holder., July 5, 1865. 

a Lefter book of Governor E [olden of 1865. (98 citizens of Cleveland signed 
the petition.) 

Reconstruction ix Cleveland County 21 

Rogue, J. R- Willis, Durham Hicks, Glen Borders, Noah 
Moss, Isaac Bridgers, James McKinney, William Me- 
Call, John W. Logan, A. B. Grigg, James McXeely, Banister 
Willis, and Threat Brigg. In addition to these officers Mar- 
tin C. Roberts was appointed provisional sheriff and Silas 
Williams clerk of the court. Governor Holden also appointed 
officers for the town of Shelby. W. H. Fullenwider was ap- 
pointed mayor and M. C. Roberts commissioner. With but 
a few exceptions all of these officers were re-appointed by 
Governor Worth in 1866. 44 In 1868 the members of the court 
lost their offices, since it was abolished and the following men 
were elected to serve as commissioners: J. R. Logan, Davie! 
Whisenant, Joseph Latimore, George Green, and Isaac R. 
Oats. 45 All of these men were under disabilities except Mr. 
Oats. None of them bore arms through the war, for 
during that period Mr. Logan was a member of the legis- 
lature, Mr. Whisenant was a justice of the peace, Green was 
sheriff of the County, and Latimore was a Confederate Asses- 
sor. 1'he other officers elected in 1868 were J. Z. Falls, sheriff, 
Jessie Jenkins, clerk of the court, E. H. Fullenwider, treas- 
urer, Elisha McBrayer, coroner, and C. Carpenter, register. 
All of these officers also had disabilities to be removed before 
they could serve. The above election clearly shows that the 
Conservative Party was in power and was running the govern- 
ment of the County, for all of the officers above mentioned 
were members of that party. They were not running the 
county government in accordance with the Republican Party's 
plan, though. Governor Holden would not recognize many 
things they did, so on June 29, 1869 the. citizens of Shelby 
and County had a meeting in the Court House for the purpose 
of petitioning Governor Holden to appoint a town council for 
Shelby and to appoint magistrates for the county and to 
organize the county according to his plan. Mr. H. Caviness 
stated at this meeting that under the existing state of affairs 
the wheels of government were at a dead lock: letters of ad- 
ministration could not be granted, overseers of roads could not 
he apointed, orphan children had to go without guardians. 

^M:^. Letter book of Governor Worth for 186". 

I-t will be noticed that there were live commissioners elected while today 
there are only three. 


22 Historical Papers 

etc.. 46 After this meeting the county government was re- 
organized and administration of county affairs began anew. 
The conservatives were compelled at this time, although 
they were in the majority, to submit to the plans of the Re- 
publican party. 

VII. Secret Organizations 

The secret organizations entered Cleveland shortly after the 
war closed. These societies had a greater influence probably 
upon the county's history during Reconstruction than any 
other one thing. The Ku Klux Klan, which is often looked 
upon as being unnecessary and exerting a detrimental in- 
fluence upon the county, really had a great mission and a noble 
purpose and truly did a great work at first. It must be ad- 
mitted, though, that the Klan finally became too violent in its 
methods and too corrupt and disgraceful in its procedure. 
Therefore it is a question today as to whether its influence 
for good was greater than for evil. The membership of the 
Klan was about 800. There were several dens in the county 
but the most prominent ones were at Shelby, the county seat, 
another in the upper part of the county, and one in the south- 
ern section, Some of the very best citizens were members 
and officers of these dens. The Grand Chief of the county was 
Plato Durham, a prominent lawyer and statesman of Shelby. 
The Cyclops of the Klan was Air. Lee McAfee of Shelby. 
He was Mr. Durham's law partner and a member of the legis- 
lature in 1870 and a very prominent man. 

The other secret organizations were the Union League and 
Red Strings. 47 These were merged shortly after the war 
closed. The membership of the former organization was about 
200. This organization was Republican and had for its pur- 
pose the election of Republican candidates and to strengthen 
the republican party. It endeavored to secure the negro votes 
but was in most cases disappointed by the intimidation of the 
Ku Klux Klan. 48 

Let us now see if we can find the real cause or causes of 
the introduction of the Ku Klux Klan into the county. In the 

** Letter book of Governor H >lcten, JT^rie 29, 1869. 

41 Conversation with Mr. McDufH Davis. 

48 Union League was a northern organization while the Red Strings was local. 

Reconstruction in Cleveland County 23 

first place some of the officers in the county were corrupt, 
unfair, ana incompetent. This made it impossible for the 
people to get justice, — hence a turn to lawless force for jus- 
tice. The most prominent example w r as George W. Logan, 
judge of the Ninth Judicial District. Mr. Logan was a 
''turncoat" Republican. He had been a member of the Con- 
federate Congress during the war. He had also been a 
prominent man in Rutherford County and possessed some 
property. He was clerk of the court of Rutherford shortly 
after he was 21 years old, and afterwards engaged in the prac- 
tice of law. He was also a man of good family. His an- 
cestors were among the first and best families that settled in 
the County. But as many others have done, he became an 
office-seeker at the close of the war and turned over to the 
Republican party. He was elected as Superior Court Judge 
in 1868 by that party and it is claimed that he became very 
partisan and incompetent in his official duties as a judge. The 
criminal laws, it seems, were not enforced by him. Many of 
the negroes who committed crimes went unpunished. The 
sentences on the negroes that he did punish were light, while 
the punishment of the Democrats w r as heavy. In fact he be- 
came so partisian that all of the lawyers of the Ninth Judicial 
District signed a petition at a meeting in Charlotte for his 
removal. 49 For an illustration of Logan's partiality, I men- 
tion" the case of Wade Price. Wade Price, a colored man, 
was found guilty of selling whiskey without license. Price 
was set free by Logan. A few days later a one-legged Con- 
federate soldier was found guilty of the same charge. Judge 
Logan at this time attempted to impose a $25 fine but was 
kept from it by Plato Durham, who pointed out his inconsis- 
tency. 50 

In the second place, the general plan of reconstruction was 
bitterly resented by the people of Cleveland. The Scotch- 
Irish and German stock of people in Cleveland were opposed 
from the first to granting the negro the right of suffrage. 
They had been strong believers in slavery and in ruling and 
governing without the help of the negro. When the negro 
was granted his freedom they yielded to that extent, but they 

, * 8 Report of Committee to Investigate Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary 
States, second session, 42nd Congress., volume for North Carolina, p. 370. 

24 Historical Papers 

could not ?Q further and give 10 him more rights and privi- 
leges than many of the white men possessed. The attitude 
of Cleveland people on negro suffrage was well shown by- 
Plato Durham in the Convention of 1S68. Mr. Durham was 
on the suffrage committee and wrote the minority report. 51 
He contended that the negro was not worthy of the ballot and 
that it was not a constitutional duv to give it to him. His 
report lost 75 to 27. Naturally the people of Cleveland, since 
they bitterly opposed granting the negro the ballot, would 
seek to intimidate him in order to keep him from using it. 
No better method could have been found for such intimida- 
tion than the Ku Klux Klan. The Convention of *6S also gave 
to all the citizens the right to organize militia and it seems 
that the negroes in Cleveland were using this privilege. The 
negroes met for drill in at least three places in the county and 
this caused much excitemnt and trouble. So the Ku Klux 
Klan was resorted to in order to protect the white people 
from the negro militia. And above all there was a political 
reason. The Democrats wished to destroy the power of the 
Republicans and they fell upon the method of the Ku Klux 
to do it. By means of the secret organization they could in- 
timidate the negro Republicans and keep them from the polls, 
and could thus destroy the alliance of the negroes with the Re- 
publican party. So partial courts, bad government, inefficient 
officials, together with a political desire to defeat the Repub- 
lican party, were responsible for the Ku Klux Klan in Cleve- 
land County. 

By 1869 the Ku Klux Klan was strongly organized with 
a membership of the very best citizens of the county. The 
following is a description of the Klan and the impression 
which it left upon the mind of one of Cleveland's brilliant 

"The most vivid picture that comes back to me from my 
childhood was the passing of the Klan through the silent 
streets of my native village on a beautiful moonlit night in 
1869. I can yet feel the chill of the pine floor on my little 
bare feet as I leaped from the trundle bed, rushed to the win- 
dow and watched the long line of white-robed horsemen ride 
by in perfect cavalry form. Their Night Hawk blew his whis- 

51 Conventoits Journal, p. 238. 

Reconstruction in Cleveland County 25 

tie at the corner and the shining columns wheeled suddenly 
and galloped away m the cool December night, Shivering 
with terror I grasped my mother's hand and whispered, 'Do 
vou think they will hurt us?' With a low laugh she bent and 
kissed me! 

■Of course not, silly — they're our people — they are guard- 
ing us from harm.' '' 52 

The Klan claimed that it had for its principle object the 
protection of the Constitution of the United States and of the 
State of North Carolina; protection of each other; the pro- 
tection of the women and children, and to vote the democratic 
ticket. The following is the oath which members had to take 
when they were initiated: 

"I, . before the great immaculate judge of Heaven and 

earth, and upon the holy evangelist of Almighty God, do, of my own 
free will and accord subscribe to the following sacred binding obli- 
gations : 

1. I am on the side of justice and humanity and constitutional 
liberty, as bequeathed to us by our forefathers in its original purity. 

2. I reject and oppose the principles of the Radical Party. 

3. I pledge aid to the brother of the Ku Klux Klan in sickness, 
distress or pecuniary embarrassment. Females, friends, widows, and 
their household shall be the special object of my care and protection. 

4. Should I ever divulge or cause to be divulged any of the secrets 
of this order or any of the foregoing obligations, I must meet with the 
fearful punishment of death, death, death at the hands of the 
brethren." 5 ^ 

The Klan had several signs — one was to put the right hand 
over the right ear, and if you were a member you would put 
your left hand over your left ear; another was to put your 
hand, all except your thuumb into your pocket. If a member 
were in distress he was to say "Avalanche." 54 

The Klan did more whipping than killing in Cleveland. One 
noted case was that of Martin Hawkins and wife. Mr. Haw- 
kins was a creditable man but a strong Republican who lived 
near the Rutherford County line. About thirty or forty mem- 
bers went to his home one night disguised. They stripped 
him and beat him severely. They cut and bruised his skin 

Bookman; January 1914. (Article by Thomas Dixon, Jr.) 
"' Report of Committee to Investigate Affairs in the late Insurrectionary 
states, 2nd. Session, 42nci Congress, p. 399. (Volume for North Carolina.) 
*b*d. (See pages 414, 415, for the Constitution and By-laws of the Klan.) 

26 Historical Papers 

and lacerated his body. They dragged his wife down stairs 
and crippled her. Mr. McGahey, a friendly Republican of 
Hawkins, knew who one of the members was, namely, Decatur 
Depriest. McGahey upon seeing him shot him, causing in- 
stant death and then fled from the county. 55 But the most 
famous whipping and trial was that of Aaron V. Biggerstaff. 
Mr. Biggerstaff was a prominent Republican who lived just 
across the line in Rutherford County. He was a man of some 
property and was a good farmer and belonged to the Union 
League and Redstrings. The greatest fault with him, it seems, 
was that he was too talkative. He would tell Judge Logan 
everything he could hear about the Democrats. His first whip- 
ping took place in Rutherford County, and he was later whip- 
ped in Cleveland while on his way to trial. At the first whip- 
ping he was dragged out of his house one night into the big 
road where he was badly bruised. The road and yard were 
full of men and horses which made a very exciting scene. 
The members of his family were also beaten. 56 

General Joseph G. Hester, with about nine federal troopers, 
arrested thirty of the disguised persons who made the raid on 
Mr. Biggerstaff and family. 57 He brought them to Shelby and 
turned them over to the United States Commissioner, J. S. 
Moore, who resided at Shelby. He then sent for Biggerstaff 
to come in order to serve as a witness. Mr. Biggerstaff and 
family started, they traveled until about ten o'clock at night 
and finally came to a little house on the side of the road where 
they decided to camp. All went into the house except the elder 
Mr. Biggerstaff, who was too sore to get out of the wagon. 
At about ten-thirty o'clock they were attacked again by the 
Ku Klux. Mr. Biggerstaff was taken out of the wagon and 
carried off into the woods where he was kept for some time. 
The nephew of Aaron hid under the house. Mrs. Biggerstaff 
had gone into the house as soon as they stopped there that 
night, but Mrs. Norbill was expecting a raid and they went to 
the woods, thereby escaping the Klan. Finally the Klan got the 
Biggerstaff family together and just as they raised their guns 

63 Report of Committee to Investigate Affairs in Late Insurrectionary States, 
2nd Session 42nd Congress, p. 107 (volume for N. C.) 

"Ibid, pp. 112. 113, 114, 172. 

57 The Secretary of War states that no definite report has been made of the 
federal troops stationed iu Cleveland. 

Reconstruction in Cleveland County 27 

to shoot them their horses made a noise causing their gun- 
men to turn their heads and then young Biggerstafr ran. They 
shot towards him, but he escaped. The Klan then let the rest 
of the family oft on the condition that they would not testify 
against them. After this the BiggerstafT family retured home 
and stayed there. The Commissioner, Mr. J. S. Moore o'f 
Shelby, sent a subpoena for them to come to court, but they 
refused. They claimed that they were afraid that they w r ould 
be murdered. 53 

Judge George W. Logan on seeing the Klan in control, 
wrote a letter to Governor Todd R. Caldwell asking for mili- 
tary aid. Logan stated that he could not hold court at 
Shelby since his life was in danger there. He further stated 
that civil authority could not at all be maintained and that 
the county must have protection or else many must flee. 59 

Governor Caldwell on realizing the critical conditions in 
Cleveland w r rote to President Grant asking for federal troops. 
Governor Caldwell in his letter to the President stated that the 
Ku Klux Klan was committing crimes in Cleveland and that 
it could not be punished by the civil authorities. He further 
stated that it was useless to call out the State Militia since 
part of it was composed of Ku Klux members. 60 Shortly after 
the President received this letter federal troops w T ere sent to 
Cleveland and Rutherford counties. 

The members of the Ku Klux Klan who whipped Mr. Big- 
gerstafI were soon arrested by the federal officers and were 
carried to Raleigh where they were placed in jail. The follow- 
ing is an article which appeared in the Raleigh Sentinel on 
June 24, 1871, concerning them: 

"Despotism — On Thursday 39 citizens among them some of the 
most respectable citizens of Cleveland and Rutherford Counties were 
committed to jail here for the want of bail for the sum of $2,000 
each for an assault and battery upon one Aaron Biggerstaff." 

The citizens did not remain long in prison for the people of 
Cleveland were loyal to them. The following from the Sentinel 
of July 1, 1871, tells of their relief: 

M Report of Committee to Investigate Affairs in Late Insurrectionary 
«ttj Session, 42nd Congress p. 172~ Volume for North Carolina.) 
"Governor Caldwell's Mss. Letter book, April 9, 1871. 
80 Ibid. April 29, 1871. 


28 Historical Papers 

"Went Home Rejoicing. — About seven o'clock on Thursday evening 
the prisoners from Rutherford and Cleveland Counties were released 
on bail from the foul dungeon into which Judge Bond had com- 
mitted them, after refusing bail of the sum of $45,000." 

The members of the Cleveland Klan made a raid not only 
upon Mr. Biggerstaft in Rutherford County, but they did the 
greater part of their work in that county. They made a raid on 
the Star printing office of Rutherfordton, in which a Republican 
paper was edited by Mr. Justice. The printing establishment 
was almost completely demolished. Likewise the majority of 
the raids made in Cleveland County were made by members of 
Klaris from other counties, chiefly from Rutherford and from 
Cherokee County, South Carolina. There were in all twenty- 
five outrages in the county and the burning of one school 
house. Several of the prominent men of the county became 
frightened at the Klan and left the state. Among them we 
might mention Madison McBrayer and Richard Martin. But 
the Ku Klux really did accomplish two purposes, — the pro- 
tecting of the virtue of the young white girls and the strength- 
ening of the Democratic vote. Plato Durham stated that the 
poor white girls before the Klan came into existence were 
having mulatto children. It seems that the ''poor white" women 
and the negroes were mixing rapidly but the Klan put a stop to 
this. As to strengthening the Democratic vote, the Klan ac- 
complished that task. The Republicans were intimidated so 
that many of them stayed away from the polls on the election 
days. In the election of 1868 the Democratic majority was 850. 
For fear of a riot between the Democrats and Republicans in 
this election Governor Holden sent thirty armed troops up to 
Cleveland to protect the ballot box. The Republicans were so 
intimidated that their strength was greatly decreased. In 1868 
they polled 750 votes, but in the election of 1870 only 250 Re- 
publican votes were cast. The Klan not only accomplished its 
purpose at the polls but it conquered the negroes. It com- 
pletely destroyed the negro militia and the negro leagues. In 
the southern part of the county about forty negroes had 
organized themselves under the leadership of one Roundtree. 
The purpose, it is claimed, of this negro league was to take 
away the property from the white people, which the negroes 

Reconstruction is Cleveland County 20 

made for them while they were slaves. The league usually met 
in a school house. The Ku Klux Klan heard of the league's 
plot to go on a raid a certain night. The Klan on the appointed 
night went to the school house and found the negroes in it. 
Roundtree, their leader, attempted to escape. He went up into 
the loft and leaped from the window, but was shot to pieces 
when he reached the ground. 61 Thus ended the negro league 
and probably saved much property from being stolen and much 
trouble between the whites and the blacks. 

Although the Klan did much good for Cleveland yet it did 
many things that it should not have done. In fact, after the 
young reckless boys joined, it became a dishonor to the county 
and a disgrace to the state. It continued to grow worse until 
stopped by the federal power in 1872. In that year Plato 
Durham was summoned to Washington by President Grant to 
testify as to the real condition and causes of its affairs, which 
testimony was given before the investigation committee of 
Congress. At this particular time there were several hundred 
people of Cleveland under arrest, some of them in jail, some 
of them who had already been sent to the Sing Sing Prison of 
New York, and some to the prison at Charleston, South Caro- 
lina. 62 Mr. Durham was promised by President Grant that if 
he would come back home and put a stop to the Ku Klux Klan 
all who had been arrested would be set free. Mr. Durham did 
so, and thus ended the Ku Klux Klan in Cleveland County. 


The Democratic party has always dominated affairs in 
Cleveland. From the formation of the county in 1841 those 
who held other political views than those held by the Demo- 
crats were losers. Not only were the county officers members 
of the Democratic party, but Democratic candidates for Pres- 
ident and for Governor always received a good majority in 
C'eveland. In 1860 John C. Breckenridge, the Democratic can- 
didate for President, received over his Whig opponent, John 
Bell, a majority of 955 votes. The County gave Mr. Brecken- 
r'dge 1041 votes while Mr. Bell received only 196. In the same 
year the Democratic candidate for governor, Mr. John W. Ellis, 

** Conversation with Mr. Sammy Randall, who yet lives in the southern part 
of the county. 

w Conversation with several citizens of Cleveland. 

30 Historical Papers 

received 998 votes while his Whig opponent, John Pool, re- 
ceived only 419 votes in Cleveland.'' 3 

At the close of the war the names of the political parties 
were Conservative and Union. The Conservative was com- 
posed of all who had been in favor of secession and some of 
the old line Whigs, while the Union party was made up of the 
Union men, carpet baggers, and scalawags. The total vote cast 
in the gubernatorial election of 1865 was 670, Worth receiving 
386 of these and Holden 302. The small vote cast was due to 
the fact that the great majority of the Conservatives were 
debarred from voting since they could not take the " iron clad 
oath." By 1868 the Conservatives assumed the name Demo- 
crats and the opponents Republicans. The number of votes 
now had changed considerably. In that year there were 1840 
registered voters, 1528 of whom were white and 312 colored. 64 
In the presidential election for that year the Democratic party 
cast 1037 votes while the Republican party polled 556. 65 The 
Republicans made desperate efforts to use the negro vote in 
1868 and 1870 and thereby defeat their opponents but the Ku 
Klux Klan and other influences thwarted their purposes. In 
some sections of the county the Democratic party organized for 
the sole purpose of keeping the negro from voting the Republic- 
an ticket. In the southern section of the county the Democratic 
farmers united together in refusing to rent land to a negro who 
vt ted the Republican ticket. 66 The success of the Democratic 
party was also due very largely to the fact that it always had 
some exceedingly strong leaders during the days of reconstruc- 
tion. There were some as good and strong men in Cleveland 
who allied themselves with the party as could be found within 
the state. Among them I might mention Plato Durham. Dur- 
ham was a statesman of high order. He knew how to lead 
men and make his party strong. He was born at High Shoals, 
now Henrietta, Rutherford County, in 1840. He was the 
oldest son of Micajah Durham, who was a direct descendant of 
Lord Grange. In 1861 Mr. Durham came to Cleveland County 
and joined the Cleveland Guards as a private and finally rose 

63 Manual of X. C, published by State Historical Commission. 
M Branson's Business Director\, p. 186. 

65 Ibid. 

66 Conversation with Mr, T. G. Borders, who yet lives in the southern part of 
Cleveland County. 

Reconstruction in Cleveland County 31 

to the rank of captain. After the war he began practicing law 
in Shelby. In 1867 his party elected him by a big majority to 
the Legislature and in 1868 to the Constitutional Convention. 
In this convention he fought the bill proposed by the Republi- 
cans to establish a common school system and offered as an 
amendment to the bill: '"The General Assembly shall provide 
separate and distinct schools for the black children of the state 
from those provided for the white children. 5 ' 67 He was also 
very active in the discussion of several other constitutional 
questions in the convention. In 1868 he was also a candidate 
for Congress and the Democratic party of Cleveland stood by 
him to a man. Durham's opponent in this election was A. H. 
Jones of Henderson County. Mr. Jones was a Republican who 
ran a hotel in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Durham re- 
ceived in Cleveland County 1,042 votes, while Jones received 
only 648 and about 200 of these were cast by negroes. In the 
whole Congressional District Durham received 10,347 votes 
and Jones 10,329, making a majority of only 18. Mr. Durham 
was not permitted to take his seat in Congress, though. The 
Republicans raised the cry of "fraud" and the votes were sent 
to General Canby at Charleston, who threw out enough to 
defeat Durham. In 1868-69 he was chosen again to represent 
the County in the legislature, and in which position he served 
his county well. 6 * 

Durham was succeeded in the legislature by Mr. Lee M. 
McAfee, his law partner. Mr. McAfee w r as also a strong 
Democrat and added much to the strength of his party. 69 
Among the Democratic leaders Dr. W. J. T. Miller, the 
founder of the county, also deserves mention. Mr. Miller 
represented the county in the legislature for several terms and 
did much for his county and party. 

17 Convention Journal, p. 342. 
w Manuscript of Robert Durham. 

• Mr. McAfee drew up the bill of impeachment which removed Governor 
W. W. Holden from office. 

The Quakers and the North Carolina Manumission 


By P. M. Sherrfll 

Undoubtedly the strongest anti-slavery influence in North 
Carolina was that of the Quakers. 1 The Friends had strong 
convictions against slavery and they were as true to them as 
they were to their doctrine against war. They opposed sla- 
very, not only in the abstract, but in practice ; they not only 
tried to better the conditions of those living in servitude, but 
were actively engaged in manumission in the face of obstruc- 
tive legislation. The Friends never had many colored mem- 
bers, neither did they ever own many slaves, and most of 
those they did own were freed even before the Revolution 
and a member could not continue to hold slaves and remain 
a Friend. 

The first case of emancipation on record by the Friends 
as a body was in 1776. when the Yearly Meeting appointed a 
committee to aid Friends in emancipating their slaves. With 
the aid of this committee forty slaves were freed. But these 
slaves were emancipated illegally, and they were taken up by 
the authorities and resold into slavery. The Quakers claimed 
that the slaves were resold under a statute of 1777, passed after 
the slaves had been freed. They fought the matter through 
the Courts and won the verdict. But this victory was tem- 
porary for, in 1779, the Assembly passed a law confirming the 
sale of the slaves and providing that any others, similarly freed, 
were to be resold. This act was based on a colonial law of 
1741 which the Assembly held was still in force. 2 The Quakers 
claimed that this was an ex post facto law and upon this 
claim and upon the Bill of Rights in the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence they drew up a petition to the legislature saying in 
part "that no law, moral or di\nne, has given us a right to, 
or property in, any of our fellow creatures any longer than 
they are m a state of minority." This petition, upon the ad- 
vice of certain men, friendly to the Quakers, was not pre- 

1 See Weeks, Southern Quakers and Slavery, and Bassett, Slavery in the State 
of North Carolina, pp. 64-7.1, 

2 Bassett, Slavery m the State of North Carolina, p. 65. 

Quakers and >T. C. Manumission Society 33 

sented. 3 Although this petition was not presented during the 
following years many others were submitted, upon various 
matters pertaining to slavery. In 1817 the Legislature was 
petitioned to take joint action with Congress in colonizing the 
free negro. But this petition received the same treatment that 
previous ones had met with. Upon this failure the Quakers" 
gave $1,000 to the American Colonization Society. 

In the meantime, notwithstanding the fact that so far their 
efforts in behalf of emancipation had met with no success, 
they began to educate the negroes in Sabbath and Day schools. 
This was before the law had been passed prohibiting the teach- 
ing of slaves to read and write, and some considerable success 
was obtained. When the Legislature in 1831 passed the act 
prohibiting the education of slaves, the Quakers petitioned for 
its repeal. In this same petition they asked that negroes be 
allowed to preach. "We consider these laws unrighteous and 
contrary to the spirit of Christianity, offensive to God ; and 
your memorialists believe, if not repealed, they will increase the 
difficulties and dangers they are intended to prevent." 4 

In order to evade the emancipation law the Friends, as a 
corporate body, became one of the large slaveholders of the 
state. In 1808, "certain parties were authorized to act as 
agents and to receive assignments of slaves from masters 
who wished to be rid of them." 5 The agents thus appointed 
could do as they saw fit with the negroes, hire them out and 
receive their wages, and they had the power to "act discre- 
tionary with particular characters, and if they or any of 
them will not comply with the directions of the agents, after 
the necessary care has been taken they may give them up 
to a course of law" and "they may be subjected by the most 
moderate means that will effectually reduce the object to 
industry for the benefit of himself or herself." 

The Quakers did not take this step hastily., but on the 
advice of William Gaston, later a member of the Supreme 
Court of North Carolina. In 1809 he wrote as follows : 

"By the act of 1796, Chapter II, it is made lawful for any 
religious society or congregation in the state to elect any 

3 Ibid, p. 65. 
* Ibid, p. 67. 
5 Weeks, Southern Quakers and Slavery, p. 224. 


34 Historical Papers 

number of their body, as trustees, which trustees and their 
successors in office shall have full power to purchase and hold 
in trust for their society or congregation any real estate, and 
to receive any donations of whatever kind, for the use and 
benefit of such society or congregation ; to this power of mak- 
ing purchase and receiving donations there is but one limi- 
tation, which is, that under this act. no single congregation or 
society shall hold more lands than shall amount in quantity to 
2,000 acres and in value 200 pounds per year. It necessarily fol- 
lows that donations of personal property, such as money, slaves, 
etc., may be received to any amount, — such donations cannot 
be set aside by any persons claiming under the donors, nor can 
they be impaired by any one; unless by the creditors of the 
persons who have made such gifts fraudulently to defeat the 
recovery of just debts, or by those who can show a superior 
and paramount title to the property given, nor are they liable 
for the debts of the individual trustees to whom the convey- 
ance is made. — for the act especially provides that convey- 
ances and donations in the manner above mentioned shall be 
valid in law to convey to the society or congregation the 
absolute estate of the property comprehended in the instru- 
ment of conveyance of gift. And if the absolute estate there- 
in be vested in the society, of course there is none in the trus- 
tees through whose medium the transfer is effected or at most 
a legal and not a beneficial interest." With this document Gas- 
ton included a proper legal form for such gifts. Evidently he 
thought that the Quakers had a perfect legal right to hold 
slaves in this way, but notwithstanding his opinion, many 
suits arose. Some of them will be discussed later. 

At first this system did not meet the approval of all the 
Friends but soon the entire Yearly Meeting was actively en- 
gaged in the work. The agents not only received negroes from 
Quakers but also from others until it was found necessary to 
prohibit the further gift of slaves by others than Friends. 

Under this system a great number of slaves were received 
by the agents. By 1814 more than 350 negroes had been 
transferred to the agents. In 1822 there were 450 ; in 1824 there 
were 500 under care and 727 had been received in all ; in 
1826, 600 were under care ; in 1830, 402 were under care , and 

* Manuscript ia Guilford College library, 

Quakees and X. C. Manumission Society 35 

in the Eastern Quarter in 1834 there were 300 under care. 7 
As late as 1836 eighteen were still under care. 

Most of these negroes were sent to free states, a large 
portion to the west, and some to foreign ports, As early as 
1814, 40 were sent to Pennsylvania. A report of the agents 
in 1830 says that up to that time 652 had gone to free gov-' 
ernments. In 1834 300 were sent to Indiana from eastern 
Carolina. 8 

Not as many went to foreign ports as to free territory. 
One of the agents says that many of the negroes refused to go 
to Hayti or Liberia, contending that they would rather stay 
in x\merica and remain in servitude than go so far from 
home. ° However, of the 600 under care in 1826, 316 were 
willing to go to Liberia, 101 to the west, 15 to Philadelphia 
and 99 to stay at home. 

The cost of getting this large number of negroes to free 
territory was heavy. It was estimated by the Eastern Quarter 
in 1834 that the cost of sending 133 negroes to Indiana was 
$2,490. 10 To meet this heavy cost the Quakers, or a great 
many of them, contributed freely of their own means. They 
also received many contributions from Friends in New Eng- 
land, New York, and Indiana. Friends in England also 
contributed largely, i500 in 1835 and £534 in 1836. These 
facts are taken from Manumission Papers in the Guilford 
College Library, and from their contents it seems likely that 
the English Quakers contributed annually. These English let- 
ters are generally addressed to Jeremiah Hubbard, a Guil- 
ford County Friend, and signed by Josiah Forster. It is in- 
teresting to note that Jeremiah Hubbard had Indian blood 
in his veins. 

In 1822 $200 was appropriated for the purpose of removing 
negroes to free territory. This fund which was increased 
year by year was called the African Fund." By 1830, $12,- 
769.51 had been spent in sending negroes to free governments. 
In 1837 the African Fund was S3,375.05. After that time it 
began to fail off so that in 1856 it was only $353. 12. 11 

I Weeks, op. cit., pp. 225-228. 

I lhid > PP- 225-228. 

,.M>S. in Guilford College Library. 
' aISS. in Guilford College Library. 

II Weeks, p. 228. 

36 Historical Papers 

The North Carolina Friends kept Tip a close correspondence 
with the American Colonization. Society. Some Friends, Levi 
Coffin for example, were not in favor of co-operating with 
this society and looked on it rather as a slaveholder's scheme 
than an anti-slavery one. The Friends who took this view 
were usually rank abolitionists. But notwithstanding this di- 
vision the Quakers contributed to the Society and served as 
a sort of collecting agency of negroes for it. The North Car- 
olina Friends were most active in this work during the years 
1825 to 1830. They contributed to its funds over $2,000. 
In 1826, $5, 000 was given to the Quakers to send negroes 
to free governments, and, acting under the advice of the 
Society, a vessel carrying 119 emigrants sailed from Beaufort, 
North Carolina for Hayti. Of these 119, 54 were sent by 
the agents of the Yearly Meeting; 55 by members of the 
Society; eight were free negroes, intermarried with slaves; 
and two by persons not in the Society. They were so favor- 
ably received in Hayti that the President asked for more 
emigrants. In 1826 a ship sailed for Africa from North 
Carolina with 50 emigrants and in 1827 another sailed with 
67 on board. v - 

About the year 1831 the free states of the west began 
to be alarmed at the large number, of negroes who were com- 
ing to that section. . They accordingly passed laws forbidding 
masters to bring their slaves there for the purpose of free- 
ing them and also they forbade free negroes to migrate to 
the West. The Friends of Indiana, many of whom had mi- 
grated from North Carolina, held this view. A summary of a 
letter from Samuel Charles to Jeremiah Hubbard in 1826 
shows "that the prejudice against a colored population, 
was as great in Indiana as in North Carolina, and that there 
was as much of it in the minds of members of our Society 
there as in other people, that they say as others do that they 
ought to be free, but they do not want them there, and not- 
withstanding that is called a free state, a free black person 
is not allowed as much privilege there by law as in North 
Carolina." i3 A company from North Carolina reached In- 
diana in 1837 and when they found they could not stay they 

Ibid, pp. 229, 231. 
Weeks, pp. 232, 233. 

Quakers axd X. 0. Manumission Society 37 

went on to Pennsylvania, but were not allowed to stay there, 
and finally had to migrate to Africa. 

The policy of the Quakers brought them into many law suits. 
One of the most famous, Contentnea Society vs Dickinson, 
was heard by the Supreme Court in 1827. The case was as 
follows: In 1817 the agents of the Quaker society of Con-' 
tentnea in Wayne County received a slave from William Dick- 
inson." This negro was to be watched over by the agents 
who had power to hire him out, but the negro himself to 
receive the profits of his labor, until he could be free by the 
laws of the state. Nothing was said about sending him out 
of the state, even if he was eventually freed. The opinion, 
written by Chief Justice Taylor, declared that the system of 
the Quakers was practically emancipation. By law a religious 
society could hold property for its use only, not when con- 
veyed to it for a purpose which was contrary to policy of 
the laws of the state. It w r as w r ell known that Quakers did 
not hold slaves for their own use or profit because it was 
strictly contrary to their principles. One, Justice Hall, dis- 
sented. He held to the earlier view of Gaston that a re- 
ligious society could hold personal property unlimitedly. 14 

Another case was that of Redmond vs Coffin in 1833. Red- 
mond had conveyed six slaves to the Quaker agents, E. Hunt, 
Timothy Mauney, Josiah Unthank, and George Swain. After 
his death, Redmond's wife brought suit for the possession 
of the slaves. She won the case, and the opinion by Chief 
Justice Ruffin said: "A bequest of slaves for the purpose of 
emancipation, is void, and a trust results to the next of 
kin." 15 

Of the 600 negroes under care of the Quakers in 1826, 78 
were involved in lawsuits. 1(5 But as has been seen above 
the Quakers, regardless of these adverse decisions, continued 
to hold slaves in this way. 

After 1835 the slavery question began to decline among 
the Quakers. Many of them had emigrated to the west and 
other issues, such as the whiskey question, began to claim the 
attention of those who remained. Also the people of North 

"12 X. C, Reports 154. 

'"Guilford Equity Cases, 1831; Minute Doc, Superior Court Reports, 13-431, 
I? N. C. Reports 431. 
w WeekB, p. 228, 


38 Historical Papers- 

Carolina were beginning to take a reactionary view toward 

Such were the sentiments and the activities of the Friends 
as a body toward slavery. In additon to the work of their 
Yearly Meeting, there existed among them a local anti-slavery 
society, known as "The North Carolina Manumission Soc- 
iety. " 1T 

This society was organized in the so-called Quaker coun- 
ties of North Carolina — Guilford, Randolph, and Chatham. 
The movement was probably originated by the great Quaker 
anti-slavery preacher, the founder of The Philanthropist, 
Charles Osborne. He organized an anti-slavery society in 
Tennessee in 1814 and from his journal we learn that he 
organized such societies in Guilford County, North Carolina, 
in 1816. These were probably the Center, Caraway, Deep 
River, and New Garden branches which united in 1816 to 
form the North Carolina Manumission Society. Their first 
meeting was on July 19, 1816 when the above mentioned 
chapters or branches were represented. They reported a total 
membership of 147. The first officers elected were Moses 
Swain, President: Thomas Swain, Clerk; and Hugh Sherwood, 
Treasurer. The Swains and Coffins are especially prominent 
in this first meeting. About all that was done except to or- 
ganize was to appoint two committees ; one .to look after all 
printing, and the other to get extracts from the slave laws 
of different states. At the next meeting rules of order were 
drawn up and the proposed constitution was discussed. The 
preamble of the constitution contained the following which 
sets forth the views of the society: "that we adhere to the 
Declaration made by our countrymen in the year (1776) viz, 
'that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their 
creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are 
life, liberty, and the persuit of happiness.' That the command 
of the great father of mankind is, that we do unto others as 
we would be done by." The name was to be "The North 
Carolina Manumission Society." The meetings of the repre- 
sentatives of the various branches were to be held alter- 
nately at Deep River and Center Meeting Houses to "delib- 

17 Facts concerning- this Society here given are taken from the MSS. ''Minutes' 
in the Guilford College library. 

Quakers and X. C. Manumission Society 39 

erate upon, and adopt such measures as in their judgment will 
be likely to promote the gradual abolition of slavery." Any 
tree white male could become a member of the society upon 
recommendation and a majority vote. This constitution was 
ratified in 1816 and revised in 1819, 

The membership rapidly grew around the nucleus of the 
first 147. In 1817 the membership was as follows: Center 
Branch 66, Deep River 46. Xew Garden 68 ; total 180. There 
was no account from Caraway. In 1817 two new branches 
were entered on the roll, Springfield and Reedy Fork, with 
31 and 32 members respectively. The total number of mem- 
bers at this time was 256. In 1818. "in consequence of the 
neglect of some of the Branches the aggregate amount of 
members cannot be ascertained." By April, 1819, the mem- 
bership had increased to only 281. In 1825 there were 35 
branches, 27 represented at the meeting — 15 branches reported 
497 members. This was an average of 5Z. There were 
probably 1150 in aii. In March, 1826, 23 branches reported 
1000 members ; 14 branches were not represented. The total 
membership had probably increased to 1600. The roll in Sep- 
tember. 1826, was as follows : 1S 


New Garden. Guilford County 40 

Center. Guilford County.., 112 

Deep River. Guilford County , , 50 

Caraway. Randolph County 31 

Springfield, Guilford County 77 

Deep Creek 

Trotters Creek 30 

Cane Creek, Chatham County 44 

Jamestown, Guilford County 75 

Richland Creek, Randolph County 87 

Emanuel 79 

Ebenezer, Chatham or Randolph County 41 

Rocky River, Chatham County 

Uwharee 119 

Newberry 28 

Tabernacle 76 

New Salem, Randolph County 44 

Beans Shoals 

Mount Olivet, Chatham County 

M The counties in which the branches were located are given as far as they can 
be ascertained by the writer. 

40 Historical Papeks 

South Fork 

Bethel, Chatham County ,...,.. 

Dover. Guii lord County 27 

Morris Chapel 19 

Blues Creek 41 

Providence, Chatham County 4i 


Sandy Creek, Randolph County 

Marie's Creek 

Muddy Creek, Forsythe County 

Shiloh, Chatham County 

Hunting Creek 13 

Prospect, Randolph County 

Reedy Fork, Randolph County 

Brush Creek. Randolph County 

Hillsborough, Orange County 

Greensborough, Guilford County 

Rehoboth, Guilford County 18 

Jersey Settlement, Davidson County 21 

Loves Creek, Chatham County 

There was a total of 1,116 members from the 22 branches 
reporting and a total number of branches, 40. Probably one 
cause of this growth was the visit of Benjamin Lundy to 
North Carolina in 1824. There were also four Female Soc- 

The first mention of a Female Society was in 1825 when 
such a branch at Jamestown contributed a sum of money to 
the treasury. It was recognized as an auxiliary. In 1826 
there were four of these female societies and an address was 
received from one or more at almost every meeting. In 
answer to their addresses in 1826, the committee reported that 
"they contain a fund of good sense, and noble sentiment; but 
when we reflect that they sprang from the female sex, their 
excellence is doubly enhanced. " And again, "their alleviation 
of our toil, may be likened to the music of a vernal grove 
adjoining a field of labor; or to a sprightly companion along 
a rugged path, at once beguiling the hours and smoothing 
down the asperities of the way/' The addresses of the women 
were answered at almost every meeting with some such tribute 
as the foregoing. Another association of women called the 
"New Salem Benevolent Association of Females" was recogniz- 


ed as an auxiliary in 1S27. 

From 1826 on. although the branches rose to the number of 
45 at one time, there is not again given the number of 
members, and the number of unrepresented branches increased, 
especially after 1830. 

In 1834, at the last meeting of the Society, there were only 
three branches represented — Center, Springfield, and Union. 

There are several reasons for this decline. One was that 
the pro-slavery sentiment was on the increase in North Caro- 
lina, with which came hatred of the radical ideas of the north- 
ern abolitionists. And the same dislike fell on the North Caro- 
lina Society, for it had become abolitionist in its doctrines. This 
leads to the division of sentiment within the organization itself. 

As early as the third meeting of the society, April 28, 1817, 
a division occurred when it was proposed to add to the name 
the words "and colonizing." This was adopted, it seems, with- 
out much discussion but when, at the next meeting, it was 
proposed to strike out "colonizing" and insert "colonization" 
in its stead, a sharp debate occured. The proposition carried 
however. Levi Coffin in his Reminicences says of this change : 
"The last convention that I attended was held at General 
(Alexander) Gray's in Randolph County. He was a wealthy 
man and owned a number of slaves, but was interested in our 
movement. The meeting was held in his large new barn, which 
was covered but not weatherboarded, and which afforded 
ample room for the assembly. Quite a number of slaveholders 
were present who favored gradual manumission and coloni- 
zation. They argued that if the slaves were manumitted, they 
must be sent to Africa ; it would not do for them to remain in 
this country ; they must return to Africa, and this must be 
made a condition of their liberty. A motion was made to 
amend our constitution, so that the name of our organization 
would be -Manumission and Colonization Society.' This pro- 
duced a sharp debate. Many of us were opposed to making 
colonization a condition of freedom, believing it to be an 
odious plan of expatriation concocted by slave holders, to open 
a drain by which they might get rid of free negroes, and thus 
remain in more secure possession of their slave property. 
They considered free negroes a dangerous element among 
slaves. We had no objection to free negroes going to Africa 

42 Historical Papers 

of their own will, but to compel them to go as a condition of 
freedom was a movement to which we were conscientiously 
opposed and against which we strongly contended. When 
the vote was taken, the motion was carried by a small majori- 
ty. We felt that the slave power had got the ascendency in our 
Society, and that we could no longer work in it. The con- 
vention broke up in confusion and our New Garden branch 
withdrew to itself, no longer co-operating with the others. 
Our little anti-slavery band, composed mostly of Friends, 
continued to meet at New Garden until the majority of the 
members emigrated to the West, preferring to live in a free 
state." 19 

It is clear that there was a majority who did not take 
Coffin's view of the change, because the Society continued to 
grow; but it is also clear that the Society was not as com- 
pletely abolitionist in its views as at first. In 1819 there 
was a proposition from Springfield to strike out "Manu- 
mission" from the name. This proposition was referred to a 
committee. At the next meeting it was decided to retain 
"Manumission" in the title. 

Although Coffin says that New Garden drew out of the 
Society, there was a proposition from the branch in 1820 to 
strike out "Colonization." It was referred to the next meet- 
ing, when it was at first decided to strike out the word and then, 
decided to reconsider the proposal at the next meeting. At the 
next meeting action was again deferred, but finally in 1822 it 
decided to retain '"colonization." The word was later dropped 
out, but from the minutes of the Society it does not appear 
when. In the latter part of 1824 the Minutes give the name as 
the "North Carolina Manumission Society." 150 

At the same meeting at which the word "and colonizing'* 
was added to the name of the Society, correspondence with 
the "American Society at Washington City, for colonizing free 
people of color" was authorized. In 1819 a proposition to 
contribute to the American Colonization Society was referred 

13 Coffin, Reminiscences — pp. 75-76. 

20 Weeks, in Southern Quakers and Slavery, pp. 239-40, says that the terra 
"colonization" was dropped from the name at the April meeting, 1824. From 
the minutes it may be seen that there was ''no quorum" at that meeting. The 
only business transacted was to acknowledge the receipt of some books from the 
American Convention. Further the President m June, 1824, refers to the society as 
the North Carolina Manumission and Colonization Society, "saying that he thinks 
the name ought to be Manumission Society of North Carolina. 

Quaxebs and X. C. Manumission Society 43 

to a committee which reported that the Society could not now 
become a member of the "Colonizing Society at Washington" 
because it was too poor, which report the house adopted. In 
April, 1820 it was decided to refund $18 collected for the 
American Society to the original subscribers. The reason 
for this action is not stated. In 1825 it was decided to en- 
courage emigration to Hayti and Liberia to a limited extent, 
the negroes being given the choice of the place. The members 
thought that free negroes should go and slaveholders should 
prepare their slaves to go. They went further in 1826 and 
gave one of their members $23 to aid in sending some negroes 
to Hayti. At the next meeting they decided to print a monthly 
sheet devoted to Manumission and Colonization. This project 
was later dropped because of the lack of funds. At the same 
meeting another small amount was contributed toward sending 
negroes to Hayti. The next year a speech of "Mr. Secretary 
Clay before the late annual Meeting of the American Coloni- 
zation Society''' was read. In September 1827 it was stated 
that "some of the members of the North Carolina Society have 
thought that the principles of the American Colonization So- 
ciety were congenial with the views of the Manumission So- 
ciety, others have thought not. Therefore it is resolved that 
the North Carolina society sympathizes with Abolition societies 
but also with colonization, because colonization naturally means 
gradual emancipation." The Society also contributed $20, to- 
gether with a petition to Congress to aid colonization. But by 
1829 the Abolition element seems to be again getting in control 
for a resolution for co-operating with the Colonization Society 
was indefinitely postponed, which in effect meant a loss of the 
resolution. But in contrast to this, in 1832, after an animated 
debate, a proposition for the branches to contribute to the So- 
ciety was decided in the affirmative. A committee was evi- 
dently appointed, for at the next meeting they reported nothing 
done, and it was moved that it be ''exonerated" from the per- 
formance of its duty at all. 

The Manumission Society also kept up friendly relations 
with the American Convention for the Abolition of Slavery. 
In 1819 a motion to send a delegate to the Convention was 
indefinitely postponed. In 1826 a committee was appointed to 

44 Historical Papers 

write to the Convention and give it some information for which 
it had asked. In 1827 Benjamin Swain attended the conven- 
tion as a delegate. In September 1827, although there were 
not enough funds to send delegation to the Convention, it was 
resolved to send a communication. In 1828 it was again 
reported that there were not sufficient funds to send delegates. 
The same thing was reported in 1829, but a communication 
was to be sent and also $5 to be contributed to its funds. 
The Society also received from time to time tracts and 
books from the Convention. The relations between the two 
were closer after 1825. 

The Society also corresponded with Bible and Peace socie- 
ties. This fact brings out the strong Quaker element in the 

There was a so-called North Carolina Abolition Society at 
Newberry. Little is known of this society, except what is 
learned from its relations with the Manumission Society. In 
June 1824, a committee from the Society was appointed to 
meet with Newberry Society and try to unite the two. In 
September of the same year, Aaron Coffin reported that the 
North Carolina Abolition Society could not agree to the Manu- 
mission Constitution. He recommended that a committee be 
appointed to serve with a like committee of the Abolitionists, 
to come to terms and draw up a constitution. At the next 
meeting, October 1824. the constitution drawn up by the joint 
committee was unanimously adopted. It is unknown whether 
the abolition society took like action but it probably did 
adopt the constitution, for after this time Newberry appears 
on the roll of branches. 

Now let us study some of the propositions taken up by the 
Society and see what it did in itself for the negro. 

Among other things the General Association (as the Society 
is designated in the minutes) sent many memorials and ad- 
dresses to Congress. Perhaps it would be more nearly correct 
to say that many were drawn up and few were sent. 

The first mention of a petition to Congress was in 1817 
when the Association resolved to send a petition "on behalf 
of the people of color held in slavery." This petition was re- 
considered at the next meeting and rejected. A committee was 

Quakers and N. C. Manumission Society 45 

appointed to draw up a more suitable one. At the next meet- 
ing the committee reported that 260 signers, not members of 
the Society, had been secured, and the Society instructed that 
the petition be sent to Thomas Settle, the representative from 
that district. Another memorial was drawn up in 1824 to be 
sent to Romulus M. Saunders or John Long, representatives 
in Congress. This petition asked for the prohibition of the 
slave trade between the states. At the same meeting there 
was a motion to memorialize Congress for trie abolition of 
slavery in the District of Columbia and also asking for gov- 
ernmental aid to the Colonization Society. In the next year 
a memorial contained the following: "That in North Caro- 
lina, its (slavery) malign influence on the agricultural inter- 
est, on the public morals, and on the simplicity of her republi- 
can virtue, is felt and deplored by an important portion of 
her citizens." It is interesting to note in this connection that 
in 1825 the people of North Carolina were divided as follows 
in their attitude toward slavery, according to the estimate of 
the Society : two-sixtieths were for immediate emancipation ; 
three-sixtieths for gradual emancipation ; four sixtieths sup- 
ported schemes of emigration ; thirty-six-sixtieths were ready 
to support schemes of emancipation; three-sixtieths did not 
care for the subject; nine-sixtieths opposed emancipation as 
impractical ; and three-sixtieths were bitterly opposed. Of 
course these are the estimates of an anti-slavery organization. 

From the one report of the reception given to memorializa- 
tion by Congress it is clear that that body was not favorable to 
the cause. In 1829 Congress said in part "that for the con- 
solation of those whose feelings are exerted in their behalf, 
that in the separation of their (slaves') families, their condition 
is frequently bettered, and their minds made happier by the ex- 
change — and that their prisons are kept, from humane consid- 
erations, to shield those who are destined for sale, from the 
inclemency of the weather." 21 

The first motion to petition the Legislature was in 1818 
and was lost. The discussion of a petition was kept up how- 
ever until 1819 when it was dropped. In March 1825 the min- 
utes speaks of a petition which had been forwarded to the 

a I have not been able to find copies of the memorials to Congress or any other 
reply of Congress than the one quoted. 

46 Historic ax Papers 

Legislature, and in September of the same year an address 
was to be sent by the representatives, Jonathan Parker and 
William Unthank. In 1827 the Board of Managers was in- 
structed to petition the Legislature to prohibit the importation 
of slaves from other states into North Carolina. Seemingly 
nothing was done for the society recommended the same thing 
in 1828. In the latter part of 1828 it was resolved to petition 
for better laws for individual emancipation, and a committee 
was appointed for this purpose. In 1829 this committee re- 
ported that it was not expedient to petition the next Legisla- 
ture "to leave owners of slaves at discretion in liberating their 
slaves, although we believe it a subject of vital importance and 
one which ought to be well considered." From this time on 
committees on this subject generally report either "no prog- 
ress*' or that it is inexpedient. In 1831 the report of a com- 
mittee in favor of petitioning the Legislature for the repeal of 
the acts prohibiting the education of slaves after consider- 
able debate was rejected, but another committee was appointed 
to "draft a Remonstrance against the enactments of the Last 
Legislature, Relative to Slaves. " 

One aim of the Society was to get its views before the pub- 
lic through newspapers. It was unsuccessful in this at first. 
As early as 1816 it tried to get an address which had been de- 
livered before a meeting published in the Raleigh papers. 
This is the answer they received to their request: 

"Dear Sir: — I received by a young man who passed thro' 
the place some days ago an oration delivered before your 
Manumission Society, with a Request that it might be inserted 
in the 'Register, Star, and Menerva.' I am not willing to 
insert it in the Register, it is on a subject which the people of 
the state will not bear discussed with temper at present, it 
might also produce consequence of a direful kind by getting 
into the hands of Slaves, for many of them can read — I wish 
with you, that an end could be put to Slavery, but it will be of 
no use to attack the people's prejudices directly in the face, it 
must be brought about by slow, but gradual means — if you 
wish the copy returned say so. 

Yours Respectfully, 
Raleigh, September 6th, 1816." Jo. Gales 

Quakers and X. C. Manumission Society 47 

So unsuccessful were the attempts to get articles in the 
papers that the Society considered established a printing 
press of its own. Although many plans were made, none of 
them were carried out. Sometimes, however, they did print 
certain addresses and distribute them to the branches. 

The Society was given a medium through which to give its, 
doctrine to the public when William Swaim became editor of 
the Greensboro Patriot in 1827. Before this time some manu- 
mission copy was published by the editor, T. Early Strange, 
who was prominent in the Society. Swaim was editor until 
his death, in 1835. During this time there are frequent anti- 
slavery articles, together with calls for Manumission Meet- 
ings. Swaim was also prominent in the Society and served as 
its Secretary for a number of years. A thoroughly anti-sla- 
very man, he lived up to the motto of his paper, "The Ignorant 
and Degraded of Every Nation or Clime must be Enlightened 
Before our Earth can have Honor in the Universe." Levi 
Coffin says : "He advocated the manumission of slaves, and 
though he met with a storm of opposition, and -was assailed by 
other papers, he continued his course boldly and independently. 
He received letters from various parts of the state full of 
threats and warnings. These he published in his paper, and 
replied to them in editorials. Many public speakers and 
writers engaged in discussion with him, but they could not 
cope with him, and generally retired from the combat much 
worsted." Here he was true to another motto : 

"Truths would you teach, or save a sinking land, 
All fear, none aid you, and few understand." 

In his paper he often writes against the slave trade, and in 
favor of colonization. He says his object is '"to persuade our 
fellow citizens not to permit less important things to divert 
their attention from a question which, it has justly been said, 
is 'Big with the fate of this Union'." 

Swaim was not, as was generally thought throughout the 
state at that time, a Quaker. He makes this clear in an edi- 
torial which appeared in the Patriot, May 9, 1832. 

After Swaim's death the paper was taken over by A. E. 
Hanner and C. N. B. Evans, and advertisements for fugitive 
slaves and slave auctions begin to appear in the Patriot. 

48 Historical Papebs 

At an early meeting of the Society it was decided to inves- 
tigate cases of kidnapping, and in 1819 a standing committee 
was appointed on the subject, and, on motion at the same 
meeting, "it was resolved for the committee on the subject of 
kidnapping to take into consideration, the case of a number 
of colored people in the eas f ^ r n t jrt of this state, suppose! to 
re illegally held in bondage, and if the committee things 
proper to pursue the subject, they are authorized to draw on 
the treasurer for money to bear their expenses.'' There is 
no account of a report by this committee. In 1825 upon the 
information that certain negroes were held in illegal bondage 
in Surry County, it was decided to take no action as a body. 

The Society also gave some aid to those who wished to eman- 
cipate their slaves. In 1825 they thought it inexpedient to help 
free the slaves of certain persons, except to raise in part the 
money for that purpose. In 1827 a committee was appointed 
to correspond with one Nancy Moore who wished to manumit 
and colonize her slaves. This was the extent, as appears from 
the Minutes, of direct aid to persons who wished to manumit 
their slaves. At one time the appointment of an agency for 
that purpose was considered but is was deemed inexpedient. 

Individual members of the Society, however, were active in 
the cause of emancipation/ One of these was George C. Men- 
denhall, a prominent politician. The following letter, written 
when the Society was most prosperous, well illustrates the 
sentiment of the membership. 

Jamestown, Guilford, North Carolina 
June 14, 1825 
"Martha Moore: 

My brother Richard on his way to Richmond, Virginia, a few 
weeks since, wrote a line home, stating that he visited you 
on his way, and requested a line written to you pointing out a 
certain method of effectually emancipating your slaves after 
your death. I have waited for my Brother to return to rind 
if he knew of any further circumstances than he has written, 
respecting your determination to effect their freedom, but his 
written statement contained, as he says, ail his information on 
the subject. I now proceed to state, that I know of no other 
way that you can insure them their freedom by will, and as a 

Quakers and X. C. Manumission Society 49 

confirmation of this I will refer you to two cases already de- 
cided on by the Supreme Court of this State — first case that of 
Huckaby against Jones and others (from Franklin County) . 
. . . lawful property and for them to keep or dispose of as 
they shall judge more fit for the glory of God, and good of 
said slaves, it was decided that as those 4 men took no bene- 
ficial interest under the will, they were mere trustees, and as 
the intention of their testator was to give his slaves freedom, 
such intention was illegal as against the Policy of the Law and 
next to kin was to hold the slaves ; this case will be found in the 
second volume of the Supreme Court Reports by F. L. Hawks 
Page 120. The other case was Turner against Whitted from 
Orange County to the same effect. Hawks Report Page 13. 

''The only way therefore seems to be, to set them free by 
removing to a free state or country in your own life time for 
you cannot set them free here in this State, either by deed or 
will, because the Laws will not allow thereof. 

"You can employ an agent and give him a Power of Attorney 
to convey them to Ohio or Indianna State and leave or settle 
them there; it is a plentiful country where they would no 
doubt in a short time be in a measure comfortably situated and 
where they could enjoy more privileges and a greater degree 
of Liberty than free persons of color can by our law enjoy 
in North Carolina. If you are disposed to remove them I can 
only say it might be well for their security that it should be 
done at as early a period as practicable with convenience. The 
slaves themselves if hired out would in a few months raise a 
sufficient sum to defray all expenses attending their convey- 
ance to any of the Western States. I will further add that any 
other or further information which you may at any time wish, 
I will freely and cheerfully impart, or any writing on the sub- 
ject, which you may require I will attend to by your having a 
line sent to the Post Office. 

With due Respect 

George C. Mendenhall. 

"Jeremiah Hubbard is of the opinion that if you would ap- 
point Vestal Coffin of this County as an agent, he would honest- 
ly and safely convey your slaves to any other state that you 
may desire. He has been engaged heretofore warmly in the 

50 Historical Papers 

cause of emancipating slaves and securing Liberty to those of 
color who are free but improperly held in Bondage. 

G. C. M.22 

The Society attempted to do something- for the education of 
the slave. One branch, New Garden, did establish a school for 
slaves, and the Society recommended like action to other 
branches. Any further action was stopped by the anti-educa- 
tion acts of 1831. 

One of the chief agencies for carrying on the work of the 
Society, especially in the intervals between the semi-annual 
meetings, was the Board of Managers. This board was first 
appointed in 1825. It was generally composed of the more 
prominent men in the Society. The number was at first fixed 
at nine. Later it was reduced to six, although it seems that the 
number was not continuous. The Board, besides looking after 
the business of the society between meetings, drew up petitions, 
prepared essays, and acted as a committee on many of the 
important discussions of the society. In their report in 1828 
the Board said : " — and although we have but little to felicitate 
ourselves upon with regard to the progress of our institution 
we believe that the cause of emancipation is gaining ground 
in this state — and that if members would do more in promul- 
gating our principles, the cause might be advanced with more 

The Society was always in need of funds. Many of the 
propositions brought before the meeting could not be carried 
out on account of the lack of sufficient finances. The first 
report of the treasurer in 1817 placed the balance in his 
hands at $2.50. But in 1819 the amount had grown to $55 
which was out on interest. It was held in 1823 that the Society 
must have larger funds if it was to continue. In 1825, $36.32 
were contributed to the treasury. The balance in the treasury in 
1826 was $45.48. In the next year at the first meeting $36.71 
were contributed. Smaller amounts were contributed from 
time to time. By 1828 the balance had increased to 
$79.39. After this time the funds grew smaller and the 
Society was constantly asking the branches for more funds, 
until 1833 when the cash on hand was 55 cents. At one time 

MSS. letter in possession of the Trinity College Historical Society. 

Quakers a.\d H". C. Manumission Society 51 

it was moved that each member devote the profits of one day's 
labor to the funds of the society. This motion was indefinite- 
ly postponed, however. Up to the very last the Society was 
lamenting the meagreness of its funds and asking the branches 
for more. 

As was pointed out at the outset the Society held its last 
meeting at Marlborough Meeting House on July 25, 1834. At 
this meeting a resolution by Benjamin Swaim was adopted 
which read : ''Resolved, that this Institution has not yet achiev- 
ed the whole object which Providence had designed for it. 
Therefore, be it further resolved that we continue this Insti- 
tution/' With the adoption of this resolution, the election of 
Benjamin Swaim, President, William Reynolds, Secretary, and 
Benjamin Williams, Treasurer, and with instructions to the 
President to use "expedient means" for arousing the sleeping 
branches, the Society adjourned never to meet again so far 
as is known. 

What remained of the Society had been growing more and 
more abolitionist in its views and drawing closer to the abo- 
lition movement. After the meeting in 1834 the Society 
ceased to be, save as a part of the Underground Railroad. 23 

23 There was one branch of the Colonization Society in Guilford County. In the 
P&triot, Oct. 27, 1827, appeared the following: 

"Notice — A special meeting of the Greensborough Colonization Society will be 
held in the town of Greensborough on the 27th day of October next (it being Sat- 
urday of the Fall Term of the Superior Court), A punctual attendance of the 
numbers are called for, as the officers must be elected on that day." 

In the Patriot of the next year, July 5, 1828, there was a notice of a meeting 
or the "Guilford Colonization Society." And the next year on June 20, there was 
4 call for a meeting of "The Greensborough x\uxihary Colonization Society." These 
notices are about all that can be learned of the colonization movement in the 
Uuaker counties. 


Currency and Banking in North Carolina 

By William K. Boyd 

I. Introduction: Economic and Social Condition 

When North Carolina entered the Federal Union in 1789 
it ranked third among the states in population; from 1800 to 
1820 inclusive it stood fourth ; but by 1830 it had dropped 
to fifth. During these decades there were strong evidences of 
economic stagnation. Land valuation in 1833 showed a de- 
cline compared to that of 1815. Textile products as late as 
1810 surpassed in value those of Massachusetts: but by 1830 
the industrial revolution in that state gave it precedence by a 
wide margin, and the trend of industry in North Carolina was 
toward agriculture. 1 Thousands of people left the state to 
fine homes in the northwest or in other parts of the south. 

For this condition various explanations were offered by the 
observing and thoughtful men of the time. Perhaps the 
one most emphasized was the system of trade and commerce. 
Communication between the various -sections of the state was 
so difficult that most North Carolina products were marketed 
in the cities of South Carolina and Virginia. The cost of 
transportation was so heavy that the profits were seriously 
reduced. Illustrative of this evil is the following quotation 
from a legislative report of 1833 : ''In North Carolina it is 
apparent that the reward of labor has ceased to be a stimu- 
lus to industry and to enterprise; that agriculture has ceased 
to yield to the land owner a compensation equivalent to the 
expense attending the transportation of his surplus produce to 
market. The consequent result of this state of things is, 
that real estate throughout the country has so depreciated in 
the hands of the farmers, as to be considered not to possess a 
fixed value estimated upon its products. Hence our citizens 
are daily abandoning the places of their birth for situations in 
other states less healthy, and often not superior in fertility 
of soil ; but which, by the improvement of those states, rend- 
ered by the fostering aid of legislative patronage, the faci- 

1 Tench Coxe, Statements of Arts and Manufactures in the United States, 18 It.*. 

Cubbency and Banking in. Xorth Carolina 53 

lities to wealth and the means of acquiring the necessaries of 
life, die prunes of labor hold out stronger inducements to agri- 
cultural pursuits than is to be found in North Carolina." 2 
The situation revealed in this quotation along with the diver- 
sion of Xorth Carolina products to Virginia and South Caro- 
lina markets show an ancient economic basis for the characteri- 
zation of Xorth Carolina as "a valley of despondency between 
two mountains of conceit." Out of it grew the demand for 
state aid to the building of roads and canals known as inter- 
nal improvements. 

A second cause of the deterioration of North Carolina sug- 
gested in the contemporary prints was the lack of a system 
of public schools. Ignorance led not only to poverty but was 
a factor in causing many to leave the state and rind new homes 
where better educational opportunities were available. A 
system of common schools was therefore regarded as one of 
the remedies for existing evils. "It is humiliation in the high- 
est degree," said a newspaper correspondent in 1825, "to be- 
hold the gigantic strides by which our sister states have sur- 
passed us in the march of improvement .... Our ag- 
riculture is nearly what it was in the days of our fathers ; en- 
terprise, of every kind, seems to have taken wings and fled 
to some congenial abode; our political existence has been but 
barely acknowledged ; and, with very few exceptions, our rep- 
resentation at Washington has been such as to corroborate 
the degrading opinion of our state. It is now high time to 
retrieve our lost honor, and establish our character for intel- 
ligence, patriotism and enterprise. And in accomplishing this 
grand object, the intellectual improvement of the lower classes 
must constitute the adamantine basis of the whole structure. 
Do this, and agriculture will feel its genial influence; com- 
merce will wave its flag ; talents and ability will mark our 
representatives ; foreign influence will vanish from our delib- 
eration, and our state assume that rank to which its resources 
and its political duration so eminently entitled it." 3 

Progress was also greatly retarded by the sectional con- 
vict between the east and the west. Up to 1835 the eastern 
counties had a larger representation in the legislature, though 

2 Report of the Committee on Internal Improvements. 

3 Western Coraliniari, Jan. 11, 1835. 

54 Historical Papers 

the western counties developed more rapidly in population 
and wealth. The antagonism which resulted prevented any 
spirit of co-operation for a common cause. Deadlocks and 
log-rolling were common in the legislature, and local and pri- 
vate acts far out-numbered the public laws. It was this 
bitter spirit of local sectionalism that Governor Swain ar- 
raigned in 1835 as follows: "The history of our state legis- 
lature during the first half of our political existence will 
exhibit little more to posterity than the annual imposition of 
taxes amounting to less than 8100,000, one half of which 
constitutes the reward of the legislative bodies by which they 
were levied, while the remainder was applied to sustain the 
train of offices who superintended the machinery of govern- 

Undoubtedly another factor which contributed to the sense 
of depression in Xorth Carolina was slavery. The per cent. 
of increase in the slave population from 1790 to 1830 was 
greater than that in the white population; also, by 1830 the 
negro population, including the slaves and free negroes, had 
reached the limit of its expansion ; its relation to the total pop- 
ulation, 36 per cent., was practically the same as in 1860, 
37 per cent., while in 1790 it had been 27 per cent. However, 
public expressions of the economic evils of slavery were few. 
The most notable was that of William Gaston in an address 
at the University of North Carolina in 1832. "Disguise the 
truth as we may," he said, "and throw the blame where we 
will, it is slavery which, more than any other cause, keeps us 
back in the career of improvement. It stifles industry and re- 
presses enterprise— it is fatal to economy and providence — it 
discourages skill — impairs our strength as a community, and 
poisons morals at the fountain head." 

In addition to these influences there was another one equal- 
ly effective in limiting the development of North Carolina 
from 1790 to 1830. That was the state's financial system. It 
was not mentioned so often as a factor in the general depres- 
sion, partly because it was such an ancient heritage that its 
essential evils as well as its relation to the general progress of 
the state were not realized. But an analysis of financial con- 
ditions, though superficial, must create a surprise that the eco- 

Currency and Banking in North Carolina 55 

nornic decline was not greater than it really was; for the 
three main elements in the financial problem, a confused and 
fluctuating currency, an inadequate system of taxation, and in- 
efficient administrative methods are the very factors that most 
certainly produce business crises, lower the standards of the 
public conscience, and make extensive appropriations for pub- 
lic purposes impossible. Of these three elements in the 
fiscal policy, the currency was by all odds the most compli- 
cated and the most demoralizing, and most directly related to 
general economic development. It is very significant that there 
was no great appropriation for internal improvements nor 
n>arked progress in industry and trade until the problem of the 
currency was vigorously attacked through the agency of banks. 
Hence for its relation to the general march of progress, as 
well as for its technical interest, the history of currency and 
banking in North Carolina is of interest. The aim of the 
present study is to present the main lines of that history from 
1790 to 1836. the latter year marking the close of one, and 
the beginning of another, epoch in the state's financial history. 


II. The Colonial and Revolutionary Heritage 
The origin of the currency problem is found in conditions 
during the colonial and revolutionary periods. Fiat money, 
rather than taxation, was the prevailing method of meeting 
public obligations. 

The total bills of credit emitted from 1715 to 1764, when 
Parliament forbade any further colonial issues, was £219,092 
and in 1771 debenture notes to the amount of £60,000 were 
also put into circulation. Various measures were taken to 
redeem this paper money but their effectiveness cannot be 
estimated. When the constitutional controversy which re- 
sulted in revolution came to a crisis in 1775, the amount of 
paper money in circulation, including the debenture notes, was 
probably £100,000, while the population was 250,000. Depre- 
ciation, ever present since the first issues, was then at the 
rate of 150 to 100 sterling. 4 

* For a discussion of the Colonial issues of caper money, see Bullock, Essays 
on the Monetary System of the United States. Or Raper, North Carolina, a 
Study in English Colonial Government, ch. VI. 

56 Historical Papers 

This excessive use of paper money suggests an accompany- 
ing evil, the lack of any efficient system of taxation. The 
popular economic fallacy was to meet the public debts with 
new issues of paper money rather than by taxation. Direct 
raxes were levied only seventeen times prior to the revolution; 
fourteen of these levies were poll taxes and one was a tax 
on law suits. 5 One of the controversies that ushered in the 
revolution in North Carolina was that of continuing a poll 
tax to redeem certain issues of paper money. The Assembly 
held that the redemption was complete and that the tax should 
be dropped, while the Governor maintained that the tax should 
be continued to redeem the debenture notes. Nor was indirect 
taxation any more stable. Duties were twice levied on gener- 
al merchandise, six times on liquors, and a tonnage duty was 
occasionally collected. H Thus the traditions of colonial days 
were not favorable to a thorough system of taxation. 

The restiveness regarding taxation was doubtless increased 
by the methods of administration. The office of treasurer was 
a double one, one official being elected for the northern dis- 
trict which included Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimmons, 
Chowan, Tyrrell, Bertie, Edgecomb, Northampton, and Gran- 
ville counties, and the other for the southern district which 
included the counties south of those mentioned. Below the 
treasurers were the sheriffs or county treasurers who col- 
lected the taxes on the basis of property values given in to 
county courts by the property owners. Inefficiency and cor- 
ruption characterized the local administration. In 1770 every 
county in the colony had at least one defaulting sheriff and 
the total amount of arrears due by the sheriffs was estimated 
at £49,000. 7 

The revolution and the years immediately succeeding saw 
a continuation of the colonial fiscal policy. As taxes had 
been unpopular under the British administration, the war was 
supported, especially in the earlier years, by paper money. 
The third Provincial Congress in 1775 decided to return to the 
people the poll taxes collected since 1771, which had been a 
subject of controversy with Governor Martin, and provided 

5 Raoer, p. 146. 

• Ibid. 

7 C, R. VIII 278-281. 

Currency and Banking in North Carolina 57 

for public expenditures by ordering the prosecution of delin- 
quent sheriffs and by issuing SI 25 ,000 in bills of credit. 8 Thus 
a new currency was established, the dollar to be equivalent to 
8s of the old money; also .the new bills were to be redeemed 
by a poll tax of 2s to be levied in 1777 ? In 1776 there was 
another issue of $1,250,000 (£500,000)., to be redeemed by a 
poll tax which should go into operation in 1780; in 1778, $2,- 
125,000 more were authorized without provision for redemp- 
tion; and in the face of depreciation varying from 6 to 1 in 
1779 to 32 or 50 to 1 in 1780, $3,100,000 were authorized in the 
latter year. 10 In 1780 and again in 1781 the taxes for the re- 
demption of the issues of 1775 and 1776 were suspended; the 
result was that this early money of the revolution, popularly 
known as state dollars, became practically worthless. With the 
collapse of paper money the circulation of specie revived, a 
process well under way in 1782. 11 Then came the first real 
crisis in the currency policy of the state; the return of specie 
promised a sounder basis for commerce than had existed, but 
the fever for paper money, although allayed to some extent 
by past experiences, was strengthened by the temporary strin- 
gency which accompanied the return of specie and the claims 
of the revolutionary soldiers. So in 1783 two measures of a 
radical nature were adopted; one repudiated the revolution- 
ary issues and the continental currency as legal tender in the 
payment of debts ; the other provided for a new issue of 
£100,000 in bills of credit in denomination of shillings and 
pence, thus setting aside the dollar denomination of the 
revolution. For redemption of the new currency w r as reserved 
the confiscated property of loyalists. A scale of depreciation 
to be used in settling debts contracted in the past was also 
adopted, but all who had refused paper money before 1777 
or had lost property by the confiscation acts were excluded 
from its benefits. 12 

The conservative leaders in the state were opposed by prin- 
ciple to the new issue of paper money ; they also criticised the 

S C. R. X 184-194. 
3 C. R. X 193. 

19 C R. X 572-573: Laws, 1778. 2nd sess. ch. I; 1780, 1st sess. ch. V. 
u Lans, 1780, ch. XVI; 1781 (3rd sess. 1780) ch. 10. Elliott, Debates on the 
Federal Constitution. IV 90, 189. 
u Laws 17S3, chs. 1, 4, 

58 Historical Papers 

policy toward the loyalists. Depreciation of the new currency 
sooa commenced, ana caused a demand tor a second issue. 
So in 1785 £100,000 more were authorized with a tax for re- 
demption and the reservation of £36,000 for the purchase of 
tobacco which should be sold and the proceeds be applied in 
payment of the state's quota of the interest on the continen- 
tal foreign debts. 1 " Depreciation, of course, continued; in 
1787 it was at a rate of 13s paper to 8s specie, and in 1786 
Richard Dobbs Spaight declared that the North Carolina dele- 
gates to the Contenental Congress could not attend that body 
because their salary, paid in state currency, was worthless 
outside the state. 14 

By no means the least interesting phase of the issue of 1785 
was the appropriation for tobacco. It well illustrates the in- 
efficiency and the loose standards of public morals which pre- 
vailed. First of all the commissioners who purchased the to- 
bacco were allowed to offer 50s per hundred, which was high- 
er than the market price; the next year, however, they were 
instructed to offer only the market price. Then considerable 
weight was lost in storing and transporting the tobacco. Find- 
ing a purchaser was also difficult. The delegates in Congress 
were authorized to act as selling agents and they succeeded in 
making a contract with an English firm at $3.50, Spanish 
milled dollars, per hundred weight for nearly half the author- 
ized purchase. After more than 100,000 pounds had been 
delivered, the company became insolvent; but credit to the 
amount due by the company was granted to the state by the 
continental authorities. Soon another contract w r as made at 
$3., Spanish milled dollars, per hundred. A small sale was 
also negotiated by Richard Blackledge, one of the commis- 
sioners, with a French firm ; he withheld the proceeds on the 
ground that he had a claim against the state for supplies fur- 
nished during the war. The legislature, however, refused to 
recognizee the claim and payment was thus forced from Black- 
ledge. Altogether £37,577,55 was spent for tobacco, more than 
the law contemplated, and to this must be added the commis- 
sioners' fees of two and one half per cent., the cost of storage, 

13 Laws 1/35 ch. 5. , Tr 

14 tetters of Sylvias written hv Hugh Williamson in American Museum, vol. II, 
113: Elliott Debates, IV, 183:" S. R. XX 309. 

Currency and Banking in -North Carolina 59 

and transportation. The amount purchased was between one 
and one half and two million pounds, the amount sold was con- 
siderably less, the difference being due to shrinkage and low- 
grade leaf. The story of inefficiency spread beyond the state 
and was one of the public scandals of the day. 15 

In addition to the forms of currency which have been out- 
lined above were the certificates, undoubtedly the most con- 
fusing element in the revolutionary finances of North Caro- 
lina. These were promises to pay, bearing interest, either in 
specie or paper. They were first authorized in 1779 and 1780 
when the paper money was depreciating so much as to be 
practically without value. According to the statutes of those 
years the Governor and the Treasurers were to receive as loans 
"such sums of money as the good people of this state shall be 
willing to supply" and to give in exchange certificates bear- 
ing five per cent, interest, redeemable in coin or paper, accord- 
ing to the nature of the loan. 16 In 1781 bounties to the amount 
of $26,250,000 were offered as bonus to volunteers, payable 
in certificates and currency, and the district treasurers in set- 
ting claims against the state "for articles heretofore furnished 
or impressed for the use thereof were also directed to issue 
certificates which should be receivable for taxes, and future 
purchases by the state were to be made in specie, or in cer- 
tificates. 17 In 1782 certificates redeemable in specie were au- 
thorized for the settlement of soldiers' claims arising from 
the depreciation of paper money or deficiency of clothing. 18 

For the redemption of certificates three measures were 
adopted. One was to accept them in payment for public lands 
beyond the mountains. In 1783 the land orifice was opened for 
the entry of all lands except those of the Cherokees and the 
district reserved for soldiers' bounties. The rate of sale was fix- 
ed at £10 specie per hundred acres or its equivalent in specie 
and currency certificates rated by law. The next year the land 
office was closed on account of the cession of the western lands 
to Congress but it was re-opened when the cession was re- 
pealed. 19 By 1787 4,393,945 acres of land had been entered. 

15 State Records, vol. XX passim:, Life and Correspondence of James 
Iredell II, 139. Elliott, Debates on the Federal Convention, IV, 84, 89. Writings 
of James Madison, 1 244. 

u Laws, 1778, ch. II; 1780 2nd sess. ch. II. 

11 Laws, 1781 (last Sess. 1780) ch. I. 

w Laws, 1782, 1st sess. ch. III. 

"Laws, 1783, ch. II: 1784 ch. XX; 1786 ch. XX. 

60 Historical Papers 

This was sufficient to redeem £439,394 of certificates but only 
xoo^ooi had been paid in; the balance of £76,731 was 
never collected, for the entry taker, John Armstrong, died and 
his estate was insolvent. 21 

Another method of redeeming the certificates was to make 
them acceptable in the sale of confiscated property, to the 
extent of two thirds the purchase price, at the rate of 150 to 
1 for certificates issued prior to 1781 and 800 to 1 for those 
issued after that date. 2 - A third method of redemption was 
taxation. The law of 1783 which provided for the new 
state currency allowed certificates to be accepted in payment 
of taxes and this policy was renewed in 1784 and 1785. 23 In 
1786, however, a tax supplementary to the regular revenue 
was levied in certificates, continental or state dollars, at the 
rate of 3s on the hundred acres, 9s on town lots, and 12s on 
the poll. This special tax was renewed in 1787, 1788, and 
1789, but was abandoned in 1790. 24 

The certificates, except those redeemable in specie, like the 
paper currency, depreciated. In 1782 the ratio to specie was 
fixed at 150 to 1 for those issued prior to 1781, 800 to 1 for 
those after that date, bounty certificates excepted. 25 In 1784 
the ratio of continental and state dollars and bounty certi- 
ficates was fixed at 800 to 1 specie, currency certificates as 
rated in 1782, while specie certificates were rated at their 
nominal value. 26 

Unfortunately depreciation was not the only evil associat- 
ed with the certificates. Counterfeiting was prevalent, espe- 
cially as a means of buying public lands. Also officers hold- 
ing certificates would often re-issue them after they had been 
redeemed and were technically valueless. The crowning fraud 
in certificates was exposed in 1786. Over a score of individ- 
uals secured forged certificates and due bills for military ser- 

21 State Records, XX, 133. In 1792 Treasurer Haywood said that he had not 
brought suit against Armstrong's estate because such proceedings might affect 
the rights of settlers to the lands; but in 1800 he notes that judgment has been 
taken for $50,000, the amount of Armstrong's bond in the court at Hilisboro, 
and an early seuiement was expected. This is the last mention of the case 
in the Treasurer's reports. Evidently the bond was never collected, House Jour- 
nal, 1792, 144: Ibid, 1800 p. 58. 

-Laws 1782 ch. VI: also, 1786, ch. XII. 

83 Laws, 1783, ch. 1. 

2 * Laws, 1786, chs. VIII; 1788, XI; 1790 ch. XIV. 

^Laws, 1782, ch. VI. 

28 Laws 17S4, 1st ses 3 . ch VI, 2nd sess. ch. IV. 

Currency and Banking in North Carolina 61 

vice,, signed by military officers, and presented them to the 
Commissioners of Army Accounts whose duty was to settle 
the claims arising from the Revolution. The Commissioners 
were a party to the frauds, for they received a discount for the 
false certificates and due bills which they approved. These were 
cashed by the Treasurer to the amount of £47,175.17 3-4 be- 
fore the Governor issued an order forbidding further redemp- 
tion. The Assembly of 1786 made an investigation, ordered 
the arrest of the offenders and their prosecution by the Attor- 
ney-General at the succeeding court at Warrenton. Indict- 
ments were found against a number; four were found guilty 
and were imprisoned, among whom were some of the most 
prominent men in state politics. 27 Memecun Hunt, Treasurer 
of the state, was implicated ; he resigned and was succeeded 
by John Haywood in 1787. 

The total amount of certificates issued and the total amount 
redeemed can not be ascertained. "It has been alleged," wrote 
Hugh Williamson in 1787, "that our certificate debt bears 
some resemblance to that many headed monster which defied 
danger; whenever one of its heads was cut off, two other- 
heads arose to support the loss." 2S In 1786 the amount oi 
certificates outstanding was estimated at £786,264.6, face val- 
ue, with an annual interest of £47,575.1 3-4. The next year 
the amount outstanding was estimated at £1,000,000, with an 
interest accruing at £60,000. In 1786 there were in the Comp- 
troller's office £855.763.6.3 specie certificates, £18,701,559.2.1 
currency certificates, and £113,653 loan office certificates: 
these had found their way into the fiscal offices through taxes, 
land sales, etc., and presumably were burned. 29 

The effects of paper money and certificates on standards 
of public morality were perhaps their worst feature. Business 
transactions were honeycombed with fraud. "Some time ago. ? 
wrote Williamson, "a young adventurer in North Carolina 
married a widow who had three children. She chanced to 
have three thousand hard dollars in the house, two thirds of 
which belonged to the children. The guardians claimed their 
share of the specie for the children, and the honest step- 

27 S. R. vol. XVIII, passim; McRee's Iredell, II 155-156. 

28 American Museum II, 226 (Letters of Sylvius.) 

29 S. R. XVIII 281: XXI, 352. 

62 Historical Papers 

father is now baying up paper at twelve or thirteen shillings 
for the dollar ; and such money will be a legal payment for the 
use of the orphans. Is it strange that paper depreciates when 
such men are profited by depreciation." 30 

The effects of paper money on trade and credit were indeed 
confusing. One. of the first duties of the legislature after 
the close of the war was to make provision for the settle- 
ment of debts. In 1783 the statute of limitations was sus- 
pended from all debts contracted from July 1776 to June 1784, 
and no suits for debts contracted prior to May 1783 should 
commence until a year from that time, unless the debtor should 
attempt to leave the state to avoid payment. Also, in rend- 
ering decisions in debtor cases the courts were ordered to give 
judgment in specie according to a given scale of depreciation 
although the contract or bond made the obligation payable in 
paper of the Revolution, and the provisions of the law making 
these paper issues tender in the payment of debts were re- 
pealed. 31 

The statute was so general in its terms that several doubt- 
ful questions arose which had to be settled by the courts. First 
of ail was the extent to which the repeal of the tender laws 
cculd be applied. Creditors went so far as to claim that pay- 
ments already made in revolutionary currency should be raised 
to meet the new scale of depreciation ; also that debts previously 
contracted and unpaid should be settled according to the new 
standard. Such principles if applied would have worked un- 
told hardship on the debtor class. Hence the court decided 
that the law of 1783 did not "destroy the effect and operation 
of the laws upon transactions that had already taken place un- 
der them," that the scale of depreciation applied only to claims 
unadjusted that had been established since depreciation set in 
(1777), and that in settling debts contracted during the re- 
volution payment should be made according to rate of depre- 
ciation for the year in which the debt was contracted. On the 
other hand the debtors attempted to take advantage of the law 
by settling their obligations, payable in specie, according to 
the ratio between specie and state currency set forth in the 
scale of depreciation. The court held that the scale of de- 

w American Museum II, 113 (Letters of Sylvius.) 
31 Laws, 1783 ch. IV. 

Currency axd Banking in Xorth Carolina 63 

preciation could be applied only to the year 1783 in which 
the act was passed and to previous years, and couid not be bind- 
ing on the future ; therefore in the absence of any prohibition 
the juries might settle all cases of depreciation between paper 
and specie relating to the same after 1783. A favorite method of 
adjusting the depreciation was to allow damages for withheld 
interest equal to the difference between the depreciation fixed 
ir. the law and the actual depreciation. 32 Thus the sphere of 
judicial activity was greatly enlarged and the doctrine of im- 
plied powers w r as invoked. Doubtless much of the opposition 
to the courts was due to this financial decision, as well as 
activity in cases arising from confiscated property. 

Paper money was closely identified with political develop- 
ment. There was a strong minority opposed to the inflation of 
the currency; in it were some of the powerful minds of the 
state. Prominent among them were James Iredell and Sam- 
uel Johnston. They were the leading spirits in a popular meet- 
ing at Edenton, August, 1783, which, in a series of resolu- 
tions, included a protest against the paper money policy of the 
legislature. 33 James Hogg, writing to Iredell, described 
the members of the Assembly of 1783 which issued £100,000 
of the new bills of credit, as "a set of unprincipled men. who 
sacrificed everything to their popularity and private views." 34 
One of the arguments against the ratification of the Federal 
Constitution in Xorth Carolina was the prohibition of the 
states issuing bills of credit, and another, a fear that the 
existing state currency would be impaired by the monetary 
clauses of the Federal Constitution. 35 Consequently one of 
the amendments of the Constitution recommended by North 
Carolina was a prohibition of Congress or the judiciary in- 
terfering with the states "in the redemption of paper money 
aheady emitted, now in circulation, or in liquidating the pub- 
lic securities of any one of the states." 36 Moreover the in- 
fluence of paper money and certificates in politics continued 
after the ratification of the constitution. Among the nation- 
alising measures of Alexander Hamilton was the assumption 

33 Annymous, 1 Haywood, 138: Bruton vs. Bullock, Conference Reports, 372: 
Winslow vs. Bloom, 1 Havwood 217. 
33 McRee's Iredell. II, 60-66. 
"McRee II, 46. 

"Elliott, IV, 128-185; McRee II 241. 
* Elliott IV, p 243. 

64 Historical Papers 

of the state debts by the Federal Government. It was op- 
posed by the North Carolina representatives in the first Con- 
gress. Among the objections made by Hugh Williamson was 
the fact that the proposed measure did not credit North Caro- 
lina with any of the certificates which had been redeemed by 
1790 or any payments of the revolutionary claims in the 
paper money of 1783-85 ; he also quoted the amendment pro- 
posed by North Carolina against Federal interference with 
state currency and securities. :)T When the state debts were 
finally funded, the portion assumed for North Carolina was 
$1,793,804. There was also a debt to the Federal Govern- 
ment in 1790 of $568,195.33.6. the difference between the 
amount advanced to North Carolina by the Continental govern- 
ment and the amount received from the state. In 1793, this 
was revised, being $501,082. It was never paid, the claim 
against the state being dropped in 1801. 38 


III. The Currency— 1790-1816 

Thus, when North Carolina joined the Federal Union in 
1789, one of the most demoralizing influences in the state was 
the inflated currency. Ratification of the Constitution forever 
ended the possibility of fiat money. There remained, however, 
the task of retiring the various issues of paper money then in 
circulation. The following table of the finances for the year 
1788 illustrates the four kinds of paper money in use, the 
double standard of North Carolina currency in force, and the 
relative values. 

37 Anal s of Congress, II, pp 1487-1490. 

38 American State Papers, vol. VII. (Finance, I 53, 697). 

Cubrency &n& Banking in North Carolina 



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66 Historical Papees 

The relation of the state to the four kinds of circulating 
medium in the above table was not uniform. There was no 
obligation to support the continental and state dollars, for the 
former had been issued by the Continental Congress and had 
been in part funded by the paper money issued by the state 
during the revolution : while the latter, which composed the 
revolutionary issues, had been repudiated as a tender in the 
payment of debts in 1783, But they were still receivable for 
taxes and their contraction was desirable ; hence large quantities 
were burned each year by order of the finance committee of the 
legislature/"' But the obligation to the state currency of 1783 
and 1785 and the certificates was different ; the former had been 
issued by the state as its standard money ; the latter were prom- 
ises to pay, bearing interest, and the honor and credit of the 
state required the redemption of them. 

The confusion in the certificates, their great depreciation, 
and the interest accruing from them demanded careful and 
thorough consideration. In 1788 a tax of 3s on 100 acres of 
land, 9s. on the £100 value of town lots, and 9s. on the poll 
was levied in state or continental dollars, bounty certificates 
at 800 to 1, specie certificates at their nominal value, or cur- 
rency certificates at the legal rate of depreciation, as a means 
of redemption. 4 " Thus the state and continental dollars were 
to be contracted along with the certificates. The next year a 
more specific measure for "redeeming the certificates and pay- 
ing the domestic debt" was enacted. This provided for call- 
ing in all the certificates by January 1, 1791, and replacing 
the genuine ones with new certificates, to be redeemed by a tax 
of Is. on the 100 acres, 3s. on the £100 value of town lots, 
and 3s. on the poll, and the money in the treasury not re- 
served for some other purpose. 41 The report of the reissue, 
made in 1792, showed that £49,301, s.9,d.4 of new certificates 
had been put into circulation and that there was an outstand- 
ing interest debt of £38,372, 16s, 9d. The next law con- 
cerning certificates was that of 1794 which made them re- 
ceivable for land grants at the rate of 50s. per 100 acres and 
required a second riling of certificates, but excepted from the 

» In 1789 $2*067,242.00 were destroyed. S. R. XXI 352. 
M, 1788, oh. 1. 
"Laws, 1789, ca. V. 

Currency and Banking in "North Carolina 


benefit- of the law were the Warrenton certificates of 1786 
and those issued by Patrick Travers, of Cumberland county. 42 
In 1799 a third registration of certificates was ordered, to be 
completed by Dec. 1, 1800, and all certificates not registered 
by that date were forever barred from redemption and were 
not to be received in any payment made to the state. 4 - The 
amount registered was £16,598.5.11 and the accrued interest 
was estimated at £32,000, increasing at the rate of £1,000 per 
annum. In 1801 the principal of the certificate debt was 
estimated at £15,000 and the treasurer was authorized to pur- 
chase that amount and to issue new certificates for interest 
due, but the results were not published. In 1802 another pur- 
chase was authorized at the rate of 15s. to each £ of certifi- 
cate; again, the result is unknown. 44 

In the meantime the sale of land for certificates went steadi- 
ly on and seems to have been the principal means of redemp- 
tion. Just when the process was completed is hard to find 
for the treasurer never made a special report concerning it; 
no redemption is mentioned in his annual reports after 1817 
though income from land sales continued to be given for 
several years. The following outline, culled from the treasur- 
ers' report, shows this process of redemption: 

1795 £10,108, 18s, 5d. 

1796 £37,043, 19s, 3d. 

1797 £8,171, 0s, 6d. 

1798 £4,852, 96s, 2d. 

1799 £7,134, 9s, 6d. 

1800 £2,918, 19s, 5d. 

1801 £4,169, 16s, Od. 

1802 £5,987, Is, Id. 

1803 £4,858, 0s, 7.d. 

1804 £5,518, 2s, 9d. 

1805 £3,331, 8s, 3d. 

1806 £3.643, 5s, lOd. 

The state currency, as well as the certificates, required re- 
demption for three reasons ; first, its continuous depreciation, 
the ratio to specie never being less than two to one; second, 

~~ i2 Luws7~1794T^hT XVI. 
*'' Laws, 1799, ch. III. 
"Laws, ch. VIL 


£2,515, 0s, 



£2,023, lls : 

, 9d. 


£1,694, 17s. 

; 9d. 


£2,606, 18s : 

, lid. 


£2,618, Is, 



£2,550, 10s, 









68 Historical Papers 

no new bills of credit could be emitted to replace the depre- 
ciated currency after the ratification of the Federal Constitu- 
tion; and third, the new standard of currency adopted by the 
Federal government made the North Carolina pound, shilling 
and pence currency an anachronism; indeed, in 1809 the cur- 
rency of the United States was recognized as the lawful cur- 
rency of the state, and permission was given to keep the re- 
cords of the state in dollars and cents, but the state currency 
was too widely circulated to permit carrying out the latter 
provision. 4 -" 5 

The first step toward redemption was the tax of three pence 
on each £ value of property in the currency act of 1783 ; in 
that of 1785, 5s. 6d. on the 100 acres of land, Is. 6d. on the 
£100 value of town lots and Is. 6d. on the poll were levied for 
the same purpose. 40 During 1786, 1787, and 1788 £27,304, 
19s, Id. were collected and were burned; with it worn out cur- 
rency was also destroyed, making a total of £40,218, 19s, 4d. 
retired. 47 But in 1789 and each subsequent year the sinking 
tax was suspended ; doubtless the immediate pretext for this 
was the tax imposed on certificates, but a larger and more per- 
manent cause was the general antipathy to taxation in the 

The final method adopted for retiring the currency w r as the 
use of dividends from bank stock and the co-operation of bank- 
ing institutions. The first banks established in North Carolina 
were the Bank of the Cape Fear and the Bank of New Bern, 
which received their charters in 1804. 48 Their combined capital 
was $450,000, of which the Bank of the Cape Fear had $250,- 
000, and the Bank of New Bern 3200,000; the amount of notes 
and debts of the former was not to exceed $750,000 over the 
monies on deposit, of the latter $600,000; also the right of 
the state to subscribe 250 shares in each institution was re- 

The immediate effects of the banks on finance and com- 
merce were good. Their notes, engraved on silk paper, were 
exchanged for the ragged state currency. The dividends were 
promising. So in 1807 the Treasurer was ordered to sub- 
scribe the number of shares reserved for the state. 49 Soon, 

"Laws, 1809, eh. XVII. 
4 " Laws, 1783, ch. T; 1785, ch. V. 
47 Finance Com., 1793, H. J., p. 38. 
4S Laws, 1804, chs. XXI, XXII. 
49 Laws, 1807, ch. III. 

Cubsenct and Banking in North Carolina 60 

however, the banks began to return into circulation the state 
currency which they had received, offering it in the payment 
of debts instead of specie or their own notes. Thus specie 
was hoarded and depreciation of the bank notes set in, for 
they were redeemed only in the depreciated currency. Two 
remedies were applied. The first was to levy a tax of one 
per cent, on bank stock held by individuals and to. limit ex- 
cessive note issues by ordering the forfeiture of the charters 
of the banks, if notes in excess of the amount authorized were 
issued. 5s: ' This was a conservative measure, enacted in 1809. 
The next year a radical, almost revolutionary measure was 
taken. That was the charter of a new bank, to be known as 
the State Bank of North Carolina, which., it was hoped, would 
absorb the existing banks and equalize the relation between 
currency and specie. The charter provided for a central bank 
in Raleigh with branches at Edenton, Xew Bern. Wilmington, 
Fayetteville, Tarboro, and Salisbury, with a capitalization not 
exceeding SI. 600.000. of which $250,000 were reserved for the 
state to be paid for in gold and silver or stock of the United 
States. In subscriptions preference was to be given to the 
Banks of Xew Bern and Cape Fear, and no new bank was 
to be chartered until the charter of the State Bank should 
expire in 1830. As the charters of the existing banks expir- 
ed in 1820 it was intended that their capital would thus be 
invested in the new institution. Three-fourths of the capital 
stock was to be paid in specie, one-fourth in paper. The 
indebtedness by bond, bill, note, contract or otherwise was 
not to exceed $4,800,000 above the amount on deposit, and all 
such liabilities, also debts due the bank, were to be redeem- 
ed in gold and silver upon judgment in the courts. After 
the bank went into operation the state currency should not 
be received as legal tender in payment of debts to the bank, 
but the state's dividends should be used to redeem the paper 
currency when presented to the bank. 51 Thus the redemption 
of the outstanding paper money was provided for along 
with new banking facilities. 

As subscriptions for stock in the new corporation were 
not as liberal as was expected the charter was amended in 

Laws, ISO?, ch. II. 
Laws, 1S10, ch. V. 

70 Historical Papers 

1811 by extending its duration until 1835, allowing the bank 
to withhold 4 per cent, ox the interest on unpaid stock sub- 
scribed by the state, and by exempting the stock and dividends 
from taxation, provided that the bank would, for one year, 
from December 18, 1816 to December 18, 1817, take up and 
exchange the paper currency of the state for bank notes or 
specie at the rate of 10s. for $1.00; on compliance with this 
provision, the Governor was authorized to issue a proclamation 
that the paper money was no longer a legal tender except to 
the bank, and the bank should return the currency to the 
state as dividends on the State's stock. 5 . 2 

Thus the redemption of the state currency was provided for 
and in 1816 the state's financial transactions began to be 
reckoned in the currency of the United States instead of the 
state currency. How much of the state currency was retired 
by the State Bank in the year 1817 is unknown; the amount 
redeemed by dividends from 1813 to 1824 inclusive was £93, 


III. Banking Problems— 1804-1835 

The state currency was disposed of through the co-operation 
of the banks. But the old evils of inflation and depreciation, 
which had characterized the long experience with paper money 
in all its forms, were perpetuated. The chief difference was 
that instead of paper money the bank notes were the cause of 
confusion and commercial depression. Two influences contri- 
buted to this condition. First of all, there was a rapid in- 
crease of banking capital. In 1804 the total authorized capital 
was $450,000 with the right to issue $1,350,000 of notes. In 
1810 the authorized capital was increased to $2,050,000 and 
the possible note issues to $6,150,000. However, the opera- 
tion of the banks was not so extravagant as these provisions 
might suggest, for their notes st >od the strain of the second 
war with Great Britain well. Said a legislative report of 
1817: "When the banks to the west and the south of New 
England suspended specie payment, the notes issued by the 
State Bank of North Carolina became in a general degree a 
continental currency. In Georgia they were at par, receiv- 

52 Laws, 1811, ch. I. 

M This amount has been computed from the annual reports of the Treasurer- 


ed and issued by the banks of that state. In South Caro- 
lina they were always ai par, except occasionally in the city 
of Charleston., where they were subject to a small deprecia- 
tion. Everywhere else they bore a premium, often a consid- 
erable one." 34 In 1816 the notes of the North Carolina banks 
were in demand in the money markets, being quoted at a prem- 
ium in Philadelphia and in 1817 specie payments were re- 
sumed by the banks. 

Contemporary with this expansion of the currency there de- 
veloped a desire for speculation. The more bank notes is- 
sued, the greater was the demand for them. This is well il- 
lustrated by the re-charter of the banks of New Bern and 
Cape Fear. In 1814 the directors of those institutions peti- 
tioned the legislature for an extension of the charters, which 
would expire in 1820. The petition was granted on condition 
that the banks would increase their capital to $800,000 each. 53 
In favor of the measure it w r as argued that the existence of 
only one bank after 1820, viz : the State Bank of North Caro- 
lina, would create a monopoly and an aristocracy of money 
which would be dangerous to the liberty of the people. 5 * 5 Com- 
petion in the banking business was therefore desirable. So the 
Bank of the Cape Fear w r as allowed to add 5,250 shares to its 
capital stock, the bank of New Bern 5,750; of this the state 
was to subscribe 1,000 shares in each institution, and 180 
shares of each subscription should be a bonus, and 410 in 
each should be paid for in treasury notes, the rest at the 
convenience of the state with no interest on the deferred pay- 
ments. The state was to receive dividends on the stock sub- 
scribed, but only the margin above six per cent, on the stock 
unpaid for. 57 

Thus an element of confusion was injected into the mone- 
tary condition by, the issue of $82,000 of treasury notes with 
which bank stock was purchased. But the taste for treasury- 
notes, once aroused, could only be satisfied by another issue. 
So in 1816. when specie was scarce, $80,000 in denominations 
cf less than one dollar were thrown into circulation through 
the State Bank, to be accepted in payments of obligations to the 

»*' Report of A. D. Murphy on the Banks (Senate Journal, 1817, pp. 89-91.) 
58 Laws. 1814 ch. VI. 

""'• Derates in a bill directing the prosecution against the several banks of the 
State CRaleigh, 1829) Pp. 42-43. 
57 Laws, 1814 ch. VI. 

72 Historical Papers 

state and again thrown into circulation by the Treasurer, 
and when received at the Stale Bank were to be credited to the 
debt of the state ro the bank. 58 In the meantime the banks 
increased their note issues, the State Bank from $145,000 in 
1812 to $1,283,677 in 1818: by 1819 those of the Bank of New 
Bern were $553,180, of the Bank of the Cape Fear $739,935.™ 

The desire for banking investments increased with the in- 
flation of the note issues. In 1817 a legislative committee 
recommended an increase in the capital stock of the State 
Bank and when the directors declined, the unsold stock amount- 
ing to 4,240 shares was by legislative action placed on the 
market. There was a feeling that the state should assume the 
entire amount, but this seemed impossible because the direc- 
tors declared that preference was to be given to small investors 
and that no proxies would be permitted at the time of subscrip- 
tion. The legislature thereupon resolved that members might 
purchase shares with money advanced by the Treasurer and 
quietly turn them over to the state. Only 18 shares were thus 
secured ; evidently the legislators exhausted their bids in mak- 
ing personal purchases and neglected the commission for the 
state. 60 At the next session a bill to increase the capital stock 
of the banks of the Cape Fear and New Bern was introduced 
tut lost in the Commons. 1 ' 1 

In 1819 a third influence, the inevitable result of expansion 
of the currency and speculation, increased the confusion and 
created an incalculable depression. That was a rapid return 
of the surplus bank notes upon the banks, and a drain on spe- 
cie. Brokers began to buy the notes of the banks and to submit 
them for redemption in specie, thus greatly reducing the coin 
in the vaults of the banks. The process and its results are well 
described in a legislative report of 1819 as f ollow r s : "Waggon 
after waggon was loaded with specie until the banks found, 
or thought they found, that the facility of procuring specie 
produced an effect opposite to that which is usual w r ith estab- 
lished credit. The notes were not permitted to circulate, but 
were collected, and sent in for payment. The specie in the 
vaults was rapidly sinking and the difficulty of continuing 

M Laws, 1816,~~ch7 VI. 

:D Reports and Minutes of the Proceedings of Joint Select Committee on the 
Banks, passim. 

8 '» Debates, pp 44, 46, 48. (Speech of Swain.) 
81 Debates, p 44. (Speech of Swain.) 

Currency a>:d Backing ix Kobth Carolina 73 

specie payments appeared imminent. The only practicable 
means were to call on the debtors for payment. To the 
banks it was not material whether the notes were paid in their 
notes or specie. The first withdrew their notes from the 
reach of the brokers. The last enabled the banks to meet them 
by whomsoever presented. Unquestionably this was the regu- 
lar remedy, if it were not forbidden by peculiar reasons. But 
it was represented that the situation of the state did not leave' 
it in the power of its citizens to pay these debts without the 
most ruinous sacrifices of property and universal distress. 
This distress the banks were obliged to occasion or hazard 
the credit of their institution. Thus situated, they adopted 
the alternative which they believed the less michievous . . . 

. They refused specie to brokers but paid them off in- 
drafts of the North to the South. The distinction between 
brokers and others was too minute to be steadily observed; 
others have, no doubt, been refused subsequently, or have 
found difficulty in procuring specie for notes presented." 62 

The above quotation is notable for two reasons ; first, 
it was made in 1819 at the beginning of the great financial 
crisis which swept over the South and West and gives a favor- 
able construction to the suspension of specie payment by the 
North Carolina banks; secondly, it was an official, legislative 
report, the spirit of which was a contrast to the radicalism 
that was manifest in the legislature a few years later. 

Unfortunately the suspension of specie payment did not 
put an end to the pressure on the banks. The brokers had 
recourse to the courts and secured judgments forcing pay- 
ment in specie. The banks had either to close their doors or 
to increase the amount of specie. For the latter purpose seve- 
ral questionable methods were resorted to. One, practised by 
the State Bank and the Bank of New Bern, was to refuse 
accommodation to customers unless payment should be in 
specie; as illustration, a loan of $1,000 in notes would be made 
on condition that the principal and interest should be paid 
in specie. As the bank notes were discounted at 5 per cent, 
and the rate of interest on the bond was 6 per cent, it was 
charged that 11 per cent, interest was being exacted, which was 

Senate Journal, 1819, pp 121-124. 

74 Historical Papers 

usury. Another expedient, used by the State Bank and the 
Bank of the Cape Fear, was to buy their own notes oul 
the state at a figure higher than the market price as a means 
of ''appreciating the notes and giving them greater currency." 
The same institutions also purchased stock of the Second Bank 
of the United States as a means of securing funds equivalent 
to specie. Moreover, the president of the State Bank in 1S22 
and 1827 bought cotton with the bank's funds, selling for spe- 
cie at a profit in 1822 but at a loss in 1827. This was not 
an irregularity merely: it was a violation of the bank's char- 
ter. 63 

By such means the banks endeavored to protect their notes 
without calling in their loans. The state also offered aid; the 
legislature in 1820 authorized the purchase of bank stock with 
the surplus money in the treasury, and in 1821 153 shares of 
the State Bank were bough:, 53 of the Bank of Xew Bern, 
and 108 of the Bank of the Cape Fear. 64 In 1823 further 
support of the banks was given by the issue of $100,000 of 
treasury notes, which were to be a legal tender for all fi- 
nancial obligations to the state. These were then thrown 
into circulation and bank notes and specie received in ex- 
change were to be invested in bank stock. 65 Accordingly 24 
shares in the State Bank, 330 in the Bank of Xew Bern, and 
680 in the Bank of the Cape Fear were purchased in 1826. 
The Literary Board also came to the aid of the banks by 
purchasing 204 shares of the State Bank, 141 of the Bank of 
New Bern and 50 of the Bank of the Cape Fear in 1828. 6G 
But all these measures proved ineffective, for in 1825 a pow- 
erful influence began to operate which forced a resump- 
tion of specie. This was the Second Bank of the United 
States. In 1825 the branch at Fayetteville began to make 
payment in United States notes only, but received the notes 
of the local banks unreservedly, and in 1827 "branch drafts" 
were offered in exchange for the notes of the North Carolina 
banks. 67 The result was that the Second Bank secured large 
amounts of notes or the North Carolina banks, submitted 

Reports and minutes of the proceedings of the joint 
Laws of 1820, ch. XV: Corap. Report, 1821. 

committee, passim. 

■ Laws, 1823 oh. 

"Report of the Literary Board 1829. 

87 Comptroller's Report, L826. 


them in demand for specie, and the banks were forced to 
comply with the demand. The banks, outgeneraled in the 
game of finance, were forced to call in their loans which 
amounted to $5,500,000, while the notes in circulation had 
shrunk to SI, 500,000. In December 1828, the stockholders 
of the State Bank met and a committee recommended a wind 
up of its business, but action on the report was postponed until 
the following June. 

Undoubtedly some practices of the banks were clear viola- 
tions of the charters ; others if adopted to day, when general 
banking laws have been worked out, would cause the prose- 
cution of bank officials. There was ample material for a po- 
litical attack on the banks based on their relation to the 
state and an audience was at hand consisting of the debtors 
who were being forced by the banks to meet their obligations. 
When the legislature of 1828-29 met a joint committee made 
an examination of the affairs of the banks. Its report was 
two fold: that of the majority, after reviewing the question- 
able methods introduced into the banking business during the 
past few years, recommended that the banks be compelled to 
meet their obligations in specie. That of the minority magni- 
fied the indiscretion and violations of banking rules into ex- 
tortions of the people, in the following manner. First, the 
payment of part of the subscriptions for bank stock in per- 
sonal notes instead of in specie was characterized as a fraud. 
Referring to the additions to the capital stock of the banks of 
New Bern and Cape Fear the report said: "It is in evidence 
to the undersigned that the whole of the additional stock was 
manufactured by the banks themselves, and that, in many 
instances, favored individuals were permitted to acquire stock 
by subscribing their names and putting their notes into the 
bank, without advancing a single dollar for capital. It follows 
that the whole amount of the interest drawn from the people, 
o the loans made from this fictitious capital, was a foul and 
illegal extortion.'"' 68 

Likewise the method by which subscriptions to the stock of 
the State Bank were paid was censured. Of the capital with 
which the institution began business, $1,176,000, only $500,000 

Report of the minutes and proceedings of the Joint Committee, p. 

76 Historical Papers 

v. as in specie, the rest being bank notes, Also when the 
remainder of the stock was placed on the market in 1818, 
were negotiated in bank notes. "But the charter," says the 
committee, "authorized the bank to operate on a real and in- 
trinsic capital, and directed that that capital should be paid 
into the bank by the stockholders. In the transaction re- 
ferred to. the bank, by a scribbling process of its own, creat- 
ed capital, and paid off a portion of its debt, by the very act 
bv which it also increased its capital." 69 

The evils of buying stock at advanced rates and of spec- 
ulation in cotton were also condemned by the minority. The 
damage inflicted on the people was described as follows: 
"It appears that the people of North Carolina, having al- 
ready paid to the banks since they went into operation a pro- 
fit of $4,000,000 on their stock — stock, too, three-fourths of 
which was manufactured by the banks themselves in a fic- 
titious and fraudulent manner — that having paid this im- 
mense sum, exceeding four times the amount of actual cap- 
ital stock ever paid into the bank according to law, they 
still hold the notes of the people for more than 55,000,000, 
about four times the amount of the whole circulating medium 
of the State. Thus it is in the power of the banks absolutely 
to extinguish the currency of the country, and when they 
have taken every dollar out of circulation, still to have a debt 
against the people to the amount of about 84,000,000 . . . 

. The communication from the stockholders of the State 
Bank now 7 before the committee, expresses the opinion that 
it is for the interest of the stockholders to withdraw their 
money from the bank, and take it under their own manag- 
ment; and contains a resolution by which they have proclaimed 
their determination to assemble June the next, in order to 
wind up their affairs ; and, consequently the affairs of the 
people of North Carolina. Thus, having for years contrived 
by illegal and fraudulent practices to draw from the people 
all the profits of their labors, and having by these practices 
placed the people in an impoverished condition, where they 
can no longer pay them large profits, they are now pre- 
paring by one fell swoop to extort from them the actual 
means of subsistence."' 70 

99 Ibid p. 8. 
n Ibid p. 10. 

Currency and Banking in North Carolina 77 

In conclusion rhe minority report expressed the conviction 
that the banks had violated their charters and recommend- 
ed that the Attorney-General institute proceedings against 
them through the writ of quo warranto, or other legal pro- 
cess. 71 

The question of adopting the majority or minority report 
led to one of the memorable debates in the legislature of 
North Carolina. Mr. Potter, chairman of the joint committee 
and leader of the minority, submitted a bill directing the At- 
torney-General to bring quo warranto proceedings against 
the banks, the trial to be conducted by the Supreme Court 
with a jury, and in case of a verdict of guilty, the Court was 
to take over the affairs of the banks and the Governor was 
to pledge the faith of the state for the redemption of the 
notes and debts of the institutions. 72 The opposition to the 
bill was led in the House of Commons by William Gaston 
and David L. Swain, who threw some light on the conduct 
of the banks different from that of the minority report. Mr. 
Swain showed that the expansion of banking capital was due 
to pressure of the legislature, while Gaston took up a number 
of specific accusations against the banks. In reply to the 
charge of accepting illegally notes for subscription to bank 
stock, he showed that the amended charters of the banks of 
New Bern and Cape Fear did not require specie to be 
paid for the new stock and that subscriptions made to the 
State Bank in paper (promissory notes) were necessary be- 
cause at that time the other banks had a monopoly on the 
specie in the state. Thus expediency, not a desire to defraud, 
caused this violation of sound banking: but a modern reader 
of his speech must be surprised at the claim that offering 
notes redeemable in specie was equivalent to paying in specie. 
Gaston also maintained that requiring those who applied for 
loans to pay the principal and interest in specie was not 
usury, for the intention of the banks was not to get unlawful- 
interest but to preserve specie, and the specie so obtained was 
scon paid out in redemption of the notes. Practically, however, 
seny one must see that the practice imposed a burden on the 
debtor equivalent to usury. As to the remedy proposed, a 

n Ibid P . 11. 

7 - Debates on the bill directing a prosecution of the several banks, pp 9-10. 

78 Historical Papers 

dissolution of the banks, Gaston made the following critic- 
ism, the most cogent part of his speech : 

"Do you wish to produce a forfeiture of the charters? 
The effect is a dissolution of the corporations — a complete 
extinction of their existence. And when this takes place, 
what is the condition of our country? Upon the dissolu- 
tion of the corporation — upon its civil death I state the law 
to be, and I state it with an entire readiness to pledge on 
the correctness of this statement, my professional reputation, 
whatever it may be — I state the law to be, that the lands of 
the corporation revert to those from whom they came — that 
the personal chattels are taken by the State, for the want of 
an owner — and that all debts due to or from the corporation 
are completely and forever extinguished. Suppose the Bank 
Corporations dissolved, then, and what is the condition of 
our country? The debtors are indeed released — they may be 
benefitted by the tremendous catastrophe. But what of the 
value of the million and half of the bank notes in circula- 
tion? They are converted into rags. What the value of your 
7,027 shares of bank stock? Whence will come your avail- 
able funds to carry on the operations of government? How 
are you from an impoverished people to raise the necessary 
revenue?" 73 

In reply to Mr. Gaston Mr. Alexander took the position 
that the debts due the banks would, on the dissolution of 
the corporation, become the property of the state which would 
make proper disposition of them, citing the seizure of loy- 
alist property during the revolution. 74 Gaston, in rejoinder 
showed that loyalist property was not the property of citi- 
zen5 but of aliens, while banking property was the property 
of citizens and by a decision of the courts the property of 
citizens "is placed out of the power of the collective body of 
the people and no ?ct of the General Assembly could impair 
property rights, nor could the legislature provide a new pen- 
alty for the punishment of past deeds, for that would be a 
v:olation of the charters, retrospective law making, a revolu- 
tionary principle in North Carolina and a violation of the 
federal constitution.'' 75 

73 Ibid pp. S4-65. 
u Ibid pp. 67-68. 
n Ibid pp. 6972. 


The argument of Gaston was by far the ablest of all the 
defenders of the banks. Indeed the opposition to the program 
of the radicals was so strong that Mr. Potter modified his 
bill so as to make the State Bank alone the object of prose- 
cution and to have the state guarantee its debts. After 
some discussion of the amended bill the vote was taken. The 
result was a tie which was broken in favor of the opposition 
by the ballot of Mr. Settle, the speaker of the House of Com- 
mons. 76 

The charters of the banks were thus saved from judicial 
procedure, but the conflict between radical and conservative 
finance took a new form the next year. The banks of New 
Eern and of the Cape Fear petitioned for an extension of 
their charters so as to give their debtors easier terms in set- 
ting their accounts., the bill being introduced by Mr. Gaston. 
The radicals opposed the measure; they declared that the 
1 anks had known for years when their charters would expire, 
that they should have taken measures earlier to wind up their 
business, and that an extension of the charters would not 
help the people but merely accomodate the banks and in the 
light of their misdemeanors such a favor should not be 
grmted. Again the most convincing argument was made by 
Gaston. He showed that the sentiment of the stock holders 
was to make over the banking property to trustees immediate- 
ly and wind up the business : that the proposed extension of 
the charters was suggested by a legislative committee which 
had been appointed at the last session to examine into the 
affairs of the banks ; and that the measure would be in the 
interest of the people. Mainly to Mr. Gaston's argument was 
due the success of the movement for extension. As finally 
shaped, the law provided for an extension of the charters 
of all the banks until 1838 ; prohibited new loans by the State 
Bank after September 1, 1830, by others after December 31, 
1834, forbade any accomodation loans after September 1, 
1830; limited the installment on the existing debts to not 
more than one half each ninety days and also prohibited the 
issue of bills under $5 after December 1, 1832 or any deno- 
mination after December 31, 1834, and required the redemp- 

Ibid pp. 86-8S; 120-121. 

80 Historical Papers 

tion of one third of the existing- debts by December 1834; 
allowed the bank stock to be received in payment of debts; 
and dividends oi capital stock might be issued after January 
1, 1833. The State Bank was also allowed to reduce the num- 
ber of its directors and the tax on the stock of the other 
banks was to be abolished after 183-k 77 

The second financial issue of 1829-30 was the establish- 
ment of a new bank. This problem was an imperative one 
on account of the approaching dissolution of the existing 
banks. In the discussion there was a long and bitter conflict 
between the influences of sound and radical finance. The 
matter was opened by a bill for a Bank of the State present- 
ed by Mr. Martin, of Rockingham county. The capital of 
the proposed institution was to consist of all property and 
stock of the state not otherwise appropriated, including 
lands, bank stock, funds and notes due the state, etc., its of- 
ficers were to be elected annually by the legislature, its loans 
were to be made on real estate or discount notes with two 
indorsements, and the funds available for loans were to be 
appropriated among the counties in proportion to the amount 
of taxes paid, with a trustee in each county to negotiate the 
loans and to represent the bank, and cash with which the 
bank w r ould begin operations should be procured by the is- 
sue of state bonds to the amount of $300,000, which should 
be sold for specie and the state should be reimbursed by the 
profits of the bank. 78 

In support of this bill the experience of other states was 
cited, notably that of Alabama and Georgia. It was also 
argued that the bank would receive on deposit funds realiz- 
ed from the state's stock in other banks and that the produc- 
tion of gold in North Carolina would enable the directors 
to secure a large amount of the precious metal which would 
be converted into specie. In the Senate, although the evils 
in the plan were ably exposed by Mr. Meares, the bill was 
carried by a vote of 33 to 25. In the Commons there was 
a vigorous and successful opposition, Sw r ain and Gaston 
again making the most effective arguments. Swain advanced 
the objection that the notes of a bank founded on assets of 

"Laws, 1330, chs. I, II. 

73 Debate in the bill for establishing a Bank of the State, p 3. (Raleigh, 1830.) 

Currency, and Banking in Xortii Carolina 81 

the state would violate the clause of the federal constitution 
which forbade the states to issue bills of credit, while Gaston 
emphasized the inherent danger of the state undertaking the 
banking business. 79 Most remarkable, however, was his ar- 
raignment of the men who fostered the plan for such a bank 
as that under discussion. He said: — 

"I trust that I shall give no offense, and most certainly in-, 
tend none, when I state that there are few in this body who 
possess the accurate information on this subject which is 
necessary to protect them from error and imposition. The 
business of banking in a State so little commercial as ours, 
cannot be expected to be well understood in its principles, 
much less in its details. Several gentlemen, indeed, avow 
themselves to be acquainted with the subject and they are of 
course obliged to on the judgment and fidelity of those who 
advance higher pretensions. If, unfortunately, those should 
prove blind or treacherous guides, how can their follow - 
ers hope to escape from injury? 

"But there is far more danger to be apprehended than 
want of knowledge. Honest ignorance is often associated 
with prudence, which like these wonderful instincts bestow- 
ed by a bountiful Creator on inferior beings, performs its 
salutary purpose with a certainty beyond the reach of en- 
lightened reason .... Our perils arise chiefly from 
other quarters. They arise from the time, from selfish- 
ness, and above all from the love of popularity. Among 
the consequences which have resulted from excessive bank- 
ing in this state, few are more prominent than the break- 
ing down of those who have freely availed themselves of 
the accomodations it offered. Some of these individuals are 
deserving of our best sympathies .... But such are 
not all. Unquestionably there are many who, bankrupt in 
reputation as in fortune, turn to patriotism as a trade and 
strive to win place and make money by pandering to the 
prejudices of the ignorant, the hopes of the necessitous, and 
the wishes of the vicious. Is it strange that these should 
project schemes by which new money-factories are to be 
erected — offices with fine salaries created — and the means of 
tinkering broken characters and supplying squandered es- 

n Ibid, passim. 

82 Historical Papers 

tales, made abundant and easy? Is it singular that they 
should find a ready hearing" with the yet larger number of 
those who, embarrassed but not broken, alarmed but not 
despairing-, seize eagerly upon every suggestion that promi- 
ses a change of creditor, or or a postponement of the de- 
mand, awaiting some lucky chance till a gold mine or a lot- 
tery ticket shall rescue them from threatened ruin? Or is 
it extraordinary that those, who are themselves free from 
selfish or impure motives, should catch by contagion the sen- 
timents disseminated around them and rashly pledge them- 
selves to plans which they do not understand but which they 
are assured are to produce incalculable benefits to their neigh- 
bors and friends? 

''Perhaps even these are not the principal sources of the 
unwise views which seem to prevail. There is a fashion in 
political whimsies as in the fancies of dress, which is adopt- 
ed wthout examination, runs its course and then passeth 
away. Banks of the State have been lately the fashion 
around us. All of them have not yet broken, and 
thus made manifest the wretched materials of which they 
were constructed. And why should we not have banks of 
the State also? This I am convinced, sir, operates most pow- 
erfully to produce the delusion which I lament, and which it 
is my anxious, wish to dispel. And as the novelties of dress 
most strongly attract those who long to catch woman's smile, 
and please woman's eye, so the novelties of legislation are 
most readily adopted by the politicians who are eager in the 
race for popular favor. As no strength of understanding 
secures the young gallant from the absurdities of the mode, 
so neither sense nor principle protects from pernicious but 
fashionable political errors, him who is over solicitous to 
please the people." 80 

The opposition to the bill was aided by a technicality: the 
text of the bill as presented had some gaps regarding the 
amount of capital of the proposed bank; it was therefore 
sent back to the Senate as not "perfect" according to the 
rules of the legislature. The Senate, however, declared the 
bill perfect; again the House referred the bill to the Senate 
when the gaps were filled in, but by the time this matter was 

88 Ibid, pp 75-90. 



adjusted, Gaston, Swain and other leaders of the opposi- 
tion in the House had secured strength enough to secure 
indefinite postponement by a vote of 67 to 63. 

The movement for a bank on the funds of the state was 
again defeated in the sessions of 1830-31, 1831-1832, but in 
1832 the State Bank declared a stock dividend of 50 per 
cent, and was nearly ready to close its doors. This made 
some new provision for banking more urgent than ever. Six 
bills for a new bank were introduced in the session of 1832- 
33; that of Mr. Barringer was finally adopted with some 
amendments. It provided for a Bank of North Carolina with 
a capital of $2,000,000, one half of which was to be subscribed 
by the state; the officers were to be elected the first year by 
the stockholders, thereafter by the legislature. 81 The insti- 
tution thus outlined was not organized, the reason therefor 
being that the private stock was not subscribed, capitalists 
not caring to be a party to an institution whose officers would 
be elected by the legislature. So at the next session the char- 
ter was remodeled. A new name, Bank of the State of North 
Carolina, was chosen, the charter was to extend to 1860, 
the capital was fixed at $1,500,000 to be paid in gold or 
silver or their equivalents, of which the state was to subscribe 
two fifths, the number of directors was fixed at ten, of whom 
four should be appointed by the state, and the Treasurer of 
the state should be a member ex officio. The bank was to 
open its doors when one half of the stock should be paid in, 
but no dividends should be declared until the entire stock was 
sold. The note issues were limited to twice the amount of 
capital. 82 

At the same session the charter of the Bank of the Cape 
Fear was extended until January 1, 1855 with a capital of 
8,000 shares, and its debt limit was fixed at $1,600,000 above 
the amount on deposit. Private banks at New Bern and 
Edenton were chartered at the same session. 

The evils and controversies which arose from the early 
experience in banking suggest certain questions pertaining 
to the relation of the banks to the state, the currency, and 

81 Raleigh Register, June, 1830, passim. 
"Laws, 1833, ch. I. 

84 Historical Papers 

public opinion. First of these is the value of the state's in- 
vestment in hank stock. The table on the opposite page shows 
the total income from each bank, the amount of the state's 
actual investment, and the resulting profit. 

Thus the investments of the state in bank stock yielded 
a large profit. Also the state's stock contributed to the 
growth of new economic and social ideals through the Fund 
for Internal Improvements and the Literary Fund. To the 
former was appropriated the state's dividends from the 
Banks of New Bern and the Cape Fear in 1821, while in 
1825 the additional stock in these banks purchased with the 
treasury notes of 1823 was made a part of the Literary Fund. 
However, the internal improvement policy of the state was 
a notorious failure, and no expenditures from the Literary 
Fund were made for schools until 1839. Also the policies of 
*he banks, already reviewed, were not conducive to prosperity 
among the people : and when the people suiter, any prosperity 
on the part of the government is very nominal. 

The extent to which the currency was inflated can not be 
determined: but it is certain that the amount of notes in 
c : rculation was not so great as the charters of the banks 
would permit. Also, in 1825 and thereafter, when the in- 
fluence of the Second Bank of the Lmited States was felt, 
there was a gradual contraction of the notes in circulation, 
the issues of the State Bank declining from $1,598,673 to 
$655,156, those of the Bank of the Cape Fear from $776,417 
to $235,460, and those of the Bank of New Bern from §677 - 
597 to $325,444. 

An unique feature of the inflation of the currency w T as 
the issue between the years 1825 and 1828 of treasury notes 
by the state. Although the constitutionality of issuing them 
was questioned, notably by Gaston, no step was taken in the 
courts to test their validity. They w r ere gradually redeemed 
and the redemption was a strain on the treasury in years 
when the state was facing a deficit. The following table 
shows the process of redemption: 












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86 Historical Papers 

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Finally the cleavage between the forces of conservatism 
and radicalism in adjusting the banking problem was deep 
and lasting. Illustrative of this is the fact that Swain and 
Gaston, the leaders of the conservative faction, were later 
leaders of the anti-Jackson movement in North Carolina and 
that the issue which caused the greatest defection from Jack- 
son in the state was his financial policy of 1832. Thus sound 
financial policies were one of the fundamental bases of the 
Whig party in North Carolina. 

A Journal and Travel of James Meacham. 
Part II, 1789-1797 * 

Thursday, December 3. This morning I awoke in the 
hands of the Lord. After family prayer I took horse with my 
brother W. R. for my next stage (a new place). Few people, 
were here. I met with Brother T. which gave me some com- 
fort to hear from his family. I spoke from I Thessalonians 
5,-19, 20, 21. Had little or no liberty and after preaching 
rode home with Brother A. Y. Where my soul was happy. I 
was much fatigued, but God was near. In family prayer I 
felt my soul break through. O! the glory of God, his spirit 
it flowed. Took bed happy in the Lord, the arms of love 
compassed me around. Remark, wicked man died who was 
possessed of considerable property (speaking after the world) 
possesses near two hundred poor black slaves, but willed them 
all free, and they are now enjoying their right. 

Thursday, December 10. This morning I was powerfully 
drawn out in prayer after sinners. I begged the Lord to put- 
it in their minds to come to the house of prayer. This day I 
strove to make some improvement of the morning in reading, 
riding and studying. A few people, while I was sitting by 
the nre in my room, looking unto God, and I felt my heart 
burn within. The spirit of the Lord is like the sword, when 
it pierces. I received it as a token that God would stand 
amidst his people today. In my first prayer, I know not 
whether I ever felt a greater agony in my soul for poor sinners 
or no. I said "we love him because he first loved us." O! 
how near the Lord stood while I w r as preaching. Happy class 
meeting, God was so near and awful to my soul that words 
cannot unfold it. I thought I was then a fool for Christ's 
sake. I could not sit, stand nor be still for a moment. Heaven 
was all around and Jesus within my soul. Happy in my even- 
ing's retirement time draws nigh that my poor black brother 

* Part I., May to August, 1789, was published in Hcstorical Papers, Series IX. 
Since that publication several note books of the author have been discovered, 
which were then not in the possession of the Historical Society. In fact, the M>S 
is so extensive that it is impracticable to publish all of it in the Historical Papers. 
Therefore only those entries which relate to slavery, Rev. James O'Keliy, the 
General Conferences of 3 7 s '-? and 1796, trie author's views of matrimony, and 
his own marriage are here given. — Wm. K. Boyd. 

88 Historical Papers 

is to come in. I lay down my all and begin to work for my 
dear Master. Many blacks, (1 have thought that I could get 
more blacks to hear me preach of a night than whites in the 
day), I spoke considerably unto them in their different sta- 
tions. The supreme power from Heaven came down in the 
first prayer, many of the dear. souls disturbed but not comfort- 
ed, after speaking unto them in general, I separated them and 
met my class. I was much blessed while speaking unto them, 
joined six or seven. I have had three meetings with them and 
have joined twenty-three. By this time I was much exhausted, 
but did not lie down until about twenty minutes after twelve. 
The arms of love were around me. 


Monday, July 11. This morning my exercises are very 
many and painful to me, but I am fixed to live and die for 
God, and for souls. No preaching. I spent the day in work- 
ing, and visting from house to house among the brethren in 
Hampton. This night my dear, old Bro. James O. Kelly, 
came. O ! how unspeakably thankful I was, he brought me 
glad tidings. Zion travels and brings forth here also. We had 
a powerful time of it in family prayer. My Bro. D. Skinner 
came over w r ith them also — a pious man of God. We had 
sweet counsel together. 

Tuesday, July 12. Bro. O'Kelly preached a powerful ser- 
mon from John 9 — 35-36-37-38. A solid move among the 
souls of this people — in the evening we had prayer. The Lord 
came and smote sinners to the ground. By this time the 
report of our meeting began to reach the ears of the people 
who came by dozens, but would not come into the house. Bro. 
O'K. spoke considerably unto them, at the door first and then 
again at the window, this time was an alarm to this town. 

Wednesday, July 13. We, the preachers, Bro. O'K and 
Bro. Ellis, took our leave of the brethren for Yorktown. Bro. 
O'Kelly preached to a beautiful company of people from St. 
James 8-20. Dined with Mr. Messak, gentleman. Then walk- 
ed up to old sister Smith's and administered the sacrament. 
From there rode to Bro. Wm. Ellis and preached to a crowded 
house of people. The people truly trembled, the place was very 

A Journal of James Meacham 8$ 

awful. Rode from thence to Williamsburg and had rest after 
riding forty English miles and preaching twice. Slept in 

Thursday, July 14. Here Bro. John Robertson and Bro. 
Benjamin Brown. Bro. O'Kelly preached in the capitoi to a 

numerous crowd of souls from John 1 — 11-12, and wept over 
them. Took his leave of them for Hampton again. After 1 
dined I took horse for my nativity and had some difficulty in 
crossing James River, but through Providence I crossed about 
half after six o'clock. I rode till within the night to Bro. 
Piland's in a surrey. I am very poorly indeed. I am naught 
but a poor worm of the earth. 

Saturday, August 20. Rode to my stage under many con- 
cords of mind. I spake from Revelation 3-21. I had light 
and liberty, and was led particularly to explode slavery. I am 
poorly and have felt for several days as if every sermon would 
be my last, but the Lord doth strengthen me uncommonly. 
Rode home with Bro. W. R. — a good place. Dear sister R. 
is a dear soul. — Bro. R. likewise. I am happy here, temptations 
a few but they are common. Blessed in prayer quiet in public, 
the Lord be forever praised. 

Thursday, September 1. I am very poorly, though I visit- 
ed some of the brethren from house to house, prayed and in- 
structed them. In evening prayer-meeting I exhorted. The 
Lord brought one soul to the knowdedge of the truth. We had 
a good time in general. 

Saturday, September 3. Preached to a small company of 
serious people from Daniel 6-16 — some liberty, good meeting. 
Rode to Hampton, prayer-meeting here tonight, a good time 
but I am distressed, I am perplexed, anti-pedo-baptists are 
after my lambs, they try to steal them from me as the wolf. 
They howl by day and by night. I fear I shall be under the 
necessity of publicly exposing them, but this is very disagree- 
able to me. 

Saturday, September 10. My mind is much embarrassed. 
I feel my dreariness of soul. I mourn, O ! what shall I do 
for more of God. Baptized a black woman's child. Who 
laughed at me while I was talking to her. I felt rather a 
scruple in my mind whether or not I must baptize the child, 
considering that it was not legally begotten, and she so greatly 

90 Historical Papers 

wicked, but she promised me to try and do all for its spiritual 
good that she could ; so I baptized it. Rode to Charles City. 
New chapel, found a good congregation, to whom I spoke 
from Hebrew 11-6. Rode home with sister Sally Drake. 

Tuesday, September 13. I preached today at Bro, Power's 
from Revalations 3-21. I had a sweet time in my own soul. 
Some sinners seemed to be affected, here I received two letters, 
one from Bro. Stephen Davidson, an elder, who spoke largely 
upon the conduct of a preacher who can give up the ministry 
for a woman, and can delight more in a lady's chamber than 
in his studies. It struck me with awe. The second was from 
D. Suthell, a preacher in the South District of Virginia, who 
informed me of Bro. J. N. and Bro. W. H.'s mourning which 
pierced me through. Rode and dined with Bro. Atkinson, and 
had prayer and rode home with my good brother and sister 
Austin where I am to preach tomorrow, God willing. It is 
good to be here, no children, nothing to tempt a preacher, but 
all to edify him. We had a sweet time this night. 

Tuesday, September 20. Not well but took horse for 
Richmond to see and hear old Bro. James O.'K. preach. About 
four o'clock I safely arrived and found the dear old soul in 
his room well and happy (but lost my great-coat by the way) 
which is strange to me, when I missed it I did not feel the 
least change of mind. I was truly glad and thankful to meet 
my dear old Bro. O'Kelly. He is like a dear father to me. We 
had a most precious time of it. His large diocese flourishes 
generally. Bro. W, H. is certainly broken the law of celibacy. 
Well the Lord knows what is best. 

Monday, October 3. As I rode to meeting I conversed 
with a poor woman of our community respecting her cruelty 
with her poor slaves, but could not do anything with her. 
She persisted in her own way and testified she would still 
do the same if they would not work. I told her if she would 
that she might not expect to continue in communion with us. 
She said she could serve the Lord out as well in. I preached 
on a funeral occasion to a large number of people from 
Eclesiastes 9-10. But little impression. Here met me my Dr. 
Little and Bro. Christopher Mooring on his way from his 
father's to his circuit again, we rode to Bro. William Parish's 
and dined; then rode to Bro. Broddenhaurs. I am not well. 

A Joukx.vl of Tames Meacham 91 

Several cattle out tonight and Bro. Mooring gave an exhorta- 
tion. We had a precious time in mutual converse. 

Tuesday. October 11. Rode to meeting- and spoke to the 
people from Psalms 124-7. No liberty. The people some af- 
fected. A good class meeting. Rode to Cumberland and dined 
with Mr. Robert Hayes, a good friend to me. This night I 
preach to the poor blacks, who hath built there a good meeting- 
house, from Daniel 6 — )6. I felt much with and for them, 
poor creatures., how affected they were, great power among 
them. Their kindness excuses their abilities. How they be- 
stowed their presents of pears and apples. I felt the Lord to 
be with me all this day. Happy, Happy. 

Wednesday, November 2. I rode early to visit the poor 
condemned malefactors, three white men to be executed Fri- 
day. They are probably distressed, but from what motive I 
can't tell unless it is for fear of death, more than Hell. It is 
truly lamentable that men will serve the devil until they end 
their lives at the gallows. O! this gallows repentance is dan- 
gerous. Rode from there to my stage and found a few women 
to whom I spoke from 1 John, 4-19. We had a good time. 
Rode this night to see my old dear Brother B. Weedon, and 
found him happy but several of the family sick. 

Sunday, November 27. Feel poorly, but set out very early 
for Richmond to meet Bro. O'K. where I met with several of 
the dear preachers. Bro. W. M. from Amelia, Bro. O. B. 
from Manchester, Bro. J. H. from Hanover, we went to the 
State-house, and found two of the old clergy, who would not 
give place. One of them preached from these w r ords, "Re- 
deeming the time because the days are evil." After him Bro. 
O 'Kelly preached from John 5 — 40. From thence we rode to 
Mr. Allen's about ten miles. Bro. O'Kelly preached from 
Psalms, 19 — this night, a time of sorrow to me. I am so 
needy and have so little. 

Saturday, December 10. Rode early to Hanovertown to 
Q. M. Bro. O'Kelly preached from Roman 5-14. I con- 
cluded with exhortation and prayer, little or no stir among 
the people yet. I hope good was done. After preaching we 
all dined at Bro. Anderson's. The sisters sent up to know it 
we would come down and pray for them. We did so, and 
bless the Lord. I thing I never saw a sweeter power in my life. 

92 Historical Papers 

O how sweet my poor soul was filled. I rolled on the floor, 
and sang and praised my dear Lord Jesus. I was happy, hap- 
py, happy beyond all expression. 

Sunday, December 11. Sweet sacrement. Many people. 
Bro. O'Kelly preached. The Lord owned his words, I believe 
this night. Bro. O'Kelly and myself rode up to my good old 
sister Peters', fifteen miles. This place is good for the poor 
preachers, happy in family prayers. 

Sunday. December 25. Christmas Day. My poor soul 
is pained to hear the children of the devil shooting. Rode very 
early to the conference to hear the experiences of the dear 
preachers, but it was nearly over before I got there. There 
were six deacons ordained, three travelling and three local. 
Mr. Asbury preached from John, 4—14. A very great sermon, 
indeed I believe it had the powerful effect upon the congrega- 
tion. Bro. Marvel gave a warm exhortation. Likewise after 
him Bro. O'Kelly. The Lord let down his awful power, and 
soon I could not hear him speak, being drowned with the cries 
and shouts of the people. Then came on the communion. 
Fifty preachers I saw surround the Lord's Table. In this 
time a precious dear woman, sister Whitehead, rose up and 
begged the preachers to excuse her, she was weak and a poor 
woman, but she was awfully impressed with grief and that 
was almost more than she could bear up under. She said when 
she turned her eyes upon the young sisters and saw them catch- 
ing after the modes of fashion of this world which passes away, 
backsliding from God and wounding his cause, she could scarce- 
ly bear up under her grief, and what was worse than all her 
poor dear young preachers, some of them would be following 
the fashions of the wicked world that ought to be examples 
of the flock. Numbers looking at them and justifying them- 
selves by such and such preachers and something else added 
with. They would stand in the pulpit and explode the cursed 
practice of slavery, and then they themselves would marry 
a young woman who held slaves and keep them fast in bloody 
slavery. Members who have been professors of the religion 
of Jesus Christ for ten or twelve years would come to me and 
apparently be as happy as saints in Heaven, and follow them 
home and you will see their slaves in the held and kitchens 
cruelly oppressed, half starved, and nearly naked. O! my 

A Journal of James Meacham v)3 

Lord, is this the religion of my adorable master Jesus? How 
can I keep grieving over these cruel oppressions who are in 
error. And I fear they will be slaves to the devil in Hell 
forever. So the dear woman swooned away being greatly ex- 
hausted. I hope this lecture may never be forgotten. 


Friday, February 10. On my way to Hampton I called 
upon one Mr. Goodwin, who appears to be under a deep con- 
cern for his future state. Told me that he had offered to the 
Baptists, and that they thought him a fit subject for their ad- 
mission, but upon their asking him his faith, they would not 
receive him as he did not believe in Reprobation and Election, 
he is very desirous of hearing of us preach. I rode to Hamp- 
ton. I found my old pain to return, the Lord assist me to 
bear up and not give way to over much sorrow. But I am of 
that spirit and nature, I cannot help it ; it appears sometimes 
as if it would be my ruin; but I try to trust in the Lord, may I 
continue so to do all my days. 

Wednesday, February 22. This morning I arose and paid 
homage to the Great I Am. I felt his divine presence, — after 
prayer in the family I rode to my stage and found a pretty con- 
gregation to which I spoke from Thessalonians 1, 7, 8, 9. I had 
the divine presence of the Lord, the people felt the word, a 
precious time in class, my sould was powerfully drawn out after 
the prosperity of Zion, — here I and two of the poor women, 
whom I suspended yesterday, who informed me, that each 
party is reconciled to each other again which gives me un- 
speakable satisfaction. 

Monday, February 27. I feel very poorly in both body 
and mind. I have to preach a funeral sermon over two of the 
dead today. The Lord assist me to be faithful. Preached to- 
day to a large congregation of people from St. John 11, 25, 
26, the people seemed effected, this day I saw the covering of 
two graves; in about nine days I have stood at the graves of 
seven persons, and warned sinners to prepare for the last space 
of Eternity. Baptized one child. This night I preach from 
Roman 6, 22. The Lord poured out his blessed spirit. The 
poor blacks were much engaged. I baptized one child, my 

94 Historical Papers 

spirit sinks very low at present, but I give myself unto prayer. 

The Lord is my only help, Glory, Glory. Amen. 

Wednesday, Juxe 6. Rode with C. S. M. to Wm. Arm- 
istead's in N. Kent, where we met with a few people. M. 
preached about one-half hour to them. We had a sweet re- 
freshment in time of class. In family prayer God was with 
us in power. O 1 how terribly I was impressed with the enor- 
mous weight of that gaulding yoke of oppression. The people 
below had been alarmed, they say by an insurrection of the poor 
blacks on the eastern shore, but on their trial and examination 
it appears it was only the surmisings of the devil in the op- 
pression. Their conscience must indeed vastly alarmed them, 
and represents much shocking horror enslaving so many thou- 
sand of poor men and women, that they formed such strong 
and plain consequences of the continuation of this cursed cruel- 
ty that it was supposed to be then the very case, and so brought 
numbers to trial. But what was made appear? Nothing but 
a guilty conscience on the side of the oppressor. O ! if they 
feel such horror here, what will they feel when stood before 
a just God. O ! how soon the cursed venom began to fly 
against the poor Methodists and Quakers when the report of 
an insurrection began to spread. Some were for hanging 
the preachers on a tree. O ! what an honorable death this 
would have been for a preacher of the Gospel had God seen 
it best. 

Monday, August 27. I preached to a very large weeping 
congregation from Galatians 3, 29, and spoke much to the feel- 
ing and experiment of the people which greatly effected their 
precious time in class. Several subscribed to the petition of 
the Humane Society to the Assembly for the gradual aboli- 
tion of slavery. I rode and tarried this night with a poor 
sick penitent man, whom I hope God will bless with a sense of 
his love. I spoke here to the blacks at night who seemed 

Monday, October 29. Early we rode to Leesburg and took 
some refreshments from thence to old sister Owen's, Meriland 
state ; in time family prayers the Lord visited my sould that 
I could scarcely stand. 

Tuesday, October 30. My feelings have been much hurt 
this day by some expressions which dropped from the preach- 

A Journal of James Meacham Do 

ers, but I must bear it with patience, We dined this day at 
Hues, from thence rode to Baltimore town, and was appointed 
to lodge at Bro. Isaac Bassett's with my affectionate Bro. D. 
Southali, where we have a little room and bed with other neces- 
saries as my heart could wish. 

Wednesday, October 31. I have done some temporal busi- 
ness and visited some of the preachers. My mind is stayed on 
God. I wish to do His will in all things. This night Bro. P. 
E., my presiding elder, preached from Amos 2 — 7. Meeting 
was closed with prayer. 

Thursday, November 1. The Bishops safely arrived and 
Conference was opened. Many were the debates, and bat little 
done. My mind is weary now and what will it be by the time 
our Conference is at an end. This night Bro. T. T. presiding 
preacher from Kentucky, preached from Ephesians 5 — 8. 
Many pointed truths were delivered, a larger attentive congre- 
gation I never saw in a town before. I think that the singing 
of the Methodists in Baltimore exceeds anything and every- 
thing of the kind I ever hear before. It appears to be the 
nearest relation to Heaven of anything ever before presented 
to my ear. 

Friday, November 2. My mind hath been crowded with 
the business of Conference. Our business goes on very slowly. 
and I am weary. I hear preaching two times every day. The 
Methodists in this town are truly remarkable for piety and 

Saturday, November 3. Business is yet slow. My mind 
more and more fatigued. I heard preaching at the Point this 
night from Bro. G. W. from I Tim. 1 — 15, Bro. L. C. and 
Bro. I. C. exhorted. But little good was done. 

Sunday, November 4. Dr. Coke from Romans 8 — 16 to 
a crowded number of souls at three o'clock, and O'K. preached 
to near two thousand souls from ''Lord increase our faith." 
At six, Bro. H. W. preached to a greater number. My soul 
hath heard much preaching, Lord help me to improve. 

Monday, November 5. Conference is yet having the debates 
now in hand. This debate, is — shall the preacher have an ap- 
peal to the District Conference if he thinks himself agrieved 
by the station which the Bishop gives him. The debate is 
lengthy. It has been near twenty-four hours, and not yet de- 

96 Historical Papers 

termined. Our debate is still confined, and the time of preacl 
mg came on, we ail repaired from this house to the Rev. Win 
Auterbine's church, who is called the Dutch Methodist. After 
near two hours' debate, it was put to ballot, and the large 
majority gave it to the Bishop. I am but poorly in body or 
mind, yet I hope on God. 

Tuesday, November 6. The Conference met according to 
adjournment. The list was called and business proceeded to. 
Bro. O'K. was absent but sent a letter to the Conference, it 
was read and many tears shed. A committee of three elders 
was chosen, Bro. T. G., Bro. F. B., and Bro. R. S., to visit him 
to try and prevail with him to come into Conference again, 
but could not. He was pointedly opposed to the Bishop having 
that power contended for. It went against him and he lias 
taken his farewell of Conference. I think my poor heart 
scarcely ever felt the like before. I could not refrain from 
weeping deeply. I hope God will still direct aright, and give us 
our dear old Bro. and good fellow back again. If he comes not 
back I fear bad consequences will accrue. 

Wednesday. November 7. The house now begins to ad- 
vance in doing business. My mind is still pained, but God is 
Love. I am given unto my God and His works, but O ! to 
what little purpose do I live. 

Thursday, November 8. Our business goes on tolerable. 
I am more and more pained, Lord help me. Bro. O'K., Bro. 
W. M., Bro. L W., Bro. T. R., and Bro. R. H. have all left 
Conference and returned home. The question is now shall 
there be a delegated conference which is only the council bap- 
tized over again into a Conference. I hope this motion will 
not pass, as I am aware of the result. 

Friday, November 9. My soul waits to prove what is that 
good and acceptable will of God. This morning the delegated 
Conference was put to vote and there was but three votes for 
a delegation. I bless my God for it. 

Saturday, November 10. My soul waits on Jesus, but not 
enough. I feel my body very much disordered, but give up all 
to God. 

Sunday, November 11. I am still in pain, and so little com- 
forted at this conference I know not that I shall ever be at 
another. I have heard four sermons this dav, I am full of 

A Jouexal of James Meaciiam 07 

preaching 1 , but I fear that I did not digest it aright. 

Monday, November 12. Weary and sick, I want to get 
away, not because my brethren are not kind to me here, they 
are more to me than I could expect. I hope the Lord will am- 
ply compensate them for their trouble with and labor of love 
for me. 

Tuesday, November 13. I am still sick, but not weary of 
the Lord's service. He is my trust, in Him is my stay. 

Wednesday, November 14. I am still poorly and pained in 
mind, but to whom shall I go for succor or refuge, but unto 
the Lord. This night I heard old Bro. I. Ellis preach a very 
good sermon. Here I met with a treatise which I never saw 
before, the sin Annanias. 

Thursday, November 15. I am fixed to seek for more 
of God. Lord assist me in this great work. This night Con- 
ference broke. Preaching began at candle-light. Dr. Coke 
preached, Bro. Sampson exhorted. The wicked hath a very 
fine elegant house sitting within about eight feet from our 
meeting-house, they had a great ball this night, but the Lord 
broke it up by pouring out his spirit upon the people. Under 
preaching eight or nine souls were converted to God and 
the ball was ruined. Bless my God for all the good that is 
done on earth. 


Thursday, March 28. I rode to my old Bro. Edges' in 
the neighborhood of R. Creek where I met with many of the 
brethren who have separated from us, to whom I spoke from 
Jude 19—20-21. I had liberty and felt great love to them. I 
pity them from my own heart. Well, I am if possible more 
than ever fixed to live and die the same in profession the 
same as from the beginning. 

Friday, March 29. I preached at Bro. Mann's to eight or 
nine souls from Psalms 34 — 17, and had the presence of the 
Lord ; after preaching I talked considerable with John Chapelle 
who is one of the members of the Republican Conference and 
preached. He appears predetermined to persevere in his 
dangerous practice. I find my spirits very much hurt by talk- 
ing with him. We had some close conversations. I wish Satan 
may not obtain his ends in these people. O ! My soul come not 


98 Historical Papers 

thou into their secrets not into their assembly, Lord help trie 
to bear up. 

Wednesday, January 9. About eleven o'clock I set out 
for Mr. Almond's twenty-five miles. I missed my way twice, 
but safely readied my good Mr, Almond's about the setting 
of the sun. I found both he and his kind pardner very unwell. 
Here I hear the fatal news which i have for two weeks feared. 
All the classes for two weeks round hath met and are prede- 
termined not to be governed by our rules of discipline. Neither 
to accept of us the travelling preachers as to govern them, but 
hath set apart the first day of March, next, as the time for all 
preachers and people who are of a republican spirit to meet 
at McGehee's barn in Prince Edward County in order to form 
a code of laws to govern themselves by and then to call their 
man to enforce their rules and preach unto them. I am in 
pain, what to do I know not. They say we may come and 
preach to them, but I shall heed them not, neither may I ex- 
pect any support from them. This will not do for us. I can- 
not feel willing to visit them on those terms. Lord undertake 
for us. we pray for the peace of Jerusalem, we pray Thee to re- 
ceive us again, must Zion fall, will not the Lord, the God of 
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob help us. 

Saturday, February 9. I have no appointment to preach 
today, but I hope to improve .my time, Mr. M. and myself 
retired out into the granary, and while we were there, a poor 
black man came in and fixed his eyes upon me and said — 
"What have you got for me." I told him I had some good 
counsel for him if he would but accept of it. He said that 
is what I want. So I proceeded to teach him the way of sal- 
vation by faith. He stood very attentive, the water streamed 
from his poor eyes from three streams. I think his poor 
heart was truly sensible of what I said respecting Christ being 
formed in him the hope of glory and so he left us begging 
our prayers. 

Friday, February 22. The Lord is my refuge. Brother 
W. rode several miles with me to direct me on my way to my 
appointment, and I conversed largely and freely with him on 
many things. He expressed himself as being greatly satisfied 
with respect to the relations I gave him of the conduct of the 
General Conference. Also we talked on slavery, but he can- 

A Journal of James Mejlcham 99 

not' see as he ought, yet he is not as many others are, full of. 
prejudice. I preached today at Mr. Cardwelhs to a pretty 
serious attentive people, from John 8, 12. I had much comfort 
and I believe the word had effect upon many, The Lord gave 
us a divine shower in time of class meeting. 

Friday, March 22. I preached in Pride's Church (Amelia) 
to a few people from First Thessalonians 2 — 13. I had but 
little liberty, yet the Lord was with us in time of class meet- 
ing. We had a very happy time here. I heard r :om the Re- 
publican Conference. They have drawn up -• petition to send 
to William Asbury to have their grievan*- _s removed. Gross 
inconsistency, after having published .nemselves in the Ga- 
zette as being formed together in i formal protest against 
prelatical government and also against William Asbury and his 
adherents. Reject the church governments with the preach- 
ers, and now to petition that power against which they abso- 
lutely rebel is an inconsistency and something which I cannot 
reconcile to my reason without an imposition. I tarried this 
night at Mr, Good's, 

Thursday, Apri. 25. I rode fifteen miles and preached to 
the people who have separated themselves from original Meth- 
odism from Luke 11-28, but felt as if I had been preaching 
to mine enemies. I tarried this night with Samuel White. 
His wife is a dear woman. She weeps for poor Zion. She is 
greatly distressed because of the rebellious ones, and told me 
that she was afraid to open her mouth one way or the other. 
Her husband has left us and she is compelled to go with him. 

Friday, April 26. This morning I have talked pointedly 
to Bro. White. He is a blind man to truth. I opened as well 
as I could (to him) the nature and plan of our church from 
which he has revolted, but he was dull (or wilful) of appre- 
hension, so I left him and rode and preached at Ero. Mann's 
from I Peter 3, — 7, 8, 9, 10. I was pointed and wish God 
may direct the arrow. From there I rode fifteen miles to 
Bro. Reese's but was very poorly indeed, fasting, preaching 
and riding so far greatly effects my head and nerves. My 
poor soul feels barren and empty. 

Tuesday, October 11. Not finding passage by water to 

100 Historical Papees 

Baltimore, set out on horseback and rode till late within tfot 
night. This week I have rode regularly on my way toward 

Wednesday, October 19. I reached Baltimore and found 
a number of preachers present. My lodging is at Bro. Fon- 
ardon. A good man and a local preacher, the Lord be my 

Thursday, October 20. Conference met and proceeded to 
business. We assembled with peace and harmony. My soul 
longeth for the living God. Dr. Coke preached this evening. 

Friday, October 21. Our business continues in peace and 

Saturday, October 22. Peace overspreads our confer- 
ence. May the Lord continue it. 

Sunday, October 23. I heard several sermons this day. 
William Asbury preached at three o'clock. My soul was filled 
with gratitude. 

Monday, October 24. The Lord, the blessed Lord of the 
universe, is with us. 1 may we all keep an eye to His 

Tuesday, October 25. Our business goes on but slowly. 
My mind is much agitated, but I trust in God, my Savior. 

Wednesday, October 26. May this with all and every 
other day of my life be for God. We dispatch business but 
slowly, but I hope what we do may be successful for the Lord. 

Saturday, October 29. The small-pox has broke among 
the preachers, May the Lord keep poor me from the hands 
of death. I wish God to have my heart. 

Sunday, October 30. The Lord is at work. Numbers have 
been converted at this Conference. There is scarcely a sermon 
but some one is said to find the Lord. 

Monday, October 31. I am very poorly in body and mind. 
I hear here so many new objects hourly striking my observa- 
tion that I find it hard to keep my mind where it ought to be. 
The work of the Lord goes on with some regularity and suc- 
cess. Many souls have been converted during the sitting of 
this Conference. Our next General Conference is to be held 
here in November 1800. Perhaps not one-third of the minis- 
ters who compose this Conference will live to sit in the next. 

A Journal of James Meacham 101 

Of may my soul c tay en its guard, and be found ready to go 
whenever the Lord shall call. 

Thursday, November 3. I obtained leave to leave town 
for Virginia, but my beast, not having been brought into town 
time enough, did not go out, but I gave myself up to God, and 
went and heard Dr. Coke preach a good sermon. 

Friday,, November 4. 1 rode out to Sister Dorsey's where 
I heard Bro. Watcoate preach. Dr. Coke and William Asbury 
exhort. There are twelve of us tarried together here this 

Saturday, November 5. I rode throught the federal city, 
where I saw part of the capitol, a very fine, elegant building, 
but the President's house far exceeded every idea of a house 
I had ever seen for fineness. I tarried in Georgtown at Col. 
Bell's, where I was very kindly entertained. 

Saturday, December 10. I am told that a local preacher has 
stopped my appointment for today by reason of a Baptist 
meeting in the neighborhood to which he wishes to go, so I do 
not propose attending at his house. I went to hear the Bap- 
tists myself. If I had have gone by myself I really should 
have returned without hearing him preach, as he waited so 
very late before he began to preach. One half hour past one 
o'clock, however, he preached about a half hour when he be- 
gun, it was the same sermon, I hear wherever I go to hear any 
of that fraternity preach, a cold dry experience as old as the 
first Baptists I ever heard preach. I do not speak with an inten- 
tion to ridicule an experience of Grace, but they never go any 
further than their doctrine of divinity than to tell out an ex- 
perience and then sing. Then all who ever experienced that 
straight away to Heaven with fear of falling out by the way. 
I returned to Bro. Pritchett's but am very poorly in body and 
very uneasy in my poor mind, nothing but the smiles of my 
sweet Jesus can cheer my poor drooping spirits. 

Monday, January 23. I have no appointment for preaching 
today, but hope and pray God to preach to my poor heart and 
fill my sould with humiliating Grace. 

Saturday, February 10. I preached to a few at Bro. 
Meredith's from Psalms 34 — 11, and had a good meeting class 
meeting. Am very poorly, but in the evening spoke to the 
blacks who appeared happy in God, indeed both white and 

102 Historical Papers 

black rejoiced greatly so that the noise of joy was hear*] 

Sunday, February 26. We had a sweet time at Sacramen! 
Bro. W. preached a close sermon from "And great shall be th : 
peace of thy children/ 1 He beared close upon the practice 
of slavery. I expect many were offended. We then rode tb> 
Bro. Paups and rest in the fear of God. I am very poorly in 
body, but want more of the Lord. 

Friday, March 10. I preached at the place where our 
Q. Meeting was. I suppose old Bro. Whatcoate gave green 
offense on the Lord's Day at our Q. M. He touched largely 
and closely upon the accursed evil and practice of slavery, bur 
the devil will make a noise when his head is bruised. The 
Lord was with us this day, blessed be his name, may the flame 
spread through the country. 


Monday, June 5. Many are my afflictions but I hope out 
of them all God will deliver me. This blessed night about 
nine o'clock I was united in wedlock to Miss Polly Seward, 
daughter of John Seward, of Brunswick, state of Virginia, 
by the Rev. John Easter. I think God has owned this union 
which was so sealed with the solemn ceremony. Bro. W. 
Spencer, whom I call Jonathan, was so kind as to give me his 
company and attendance. We had sweet prayer and thanks- 
giving together unto the blessed Lord. I thank my God we 
had an answer to prayer. Many shouts were sent up to Hea- 
ven. It was a solemn time with me, may the Lord bless us, 
and give us the sweet guidance of his Holy Spirit. 


X I 


i ' 

led by the i riflity 

H i ; tc i cal Society 


i !t ' 





: : * 

Historical Papers 

Published by the Trinity 
College Historical Society 

Series XI 


19 15 



Prefatory Note ■. 4 

Letters of Sylvius — Hugh Williamson 5 

The Manhood Suffrage Movement in North 

Carolina — John IV. Carr 47 

Some Phases of Reconstruction in Wilmington and 

New Kanover County — Bryant Whitlock Ruark.. 79 


The Committee on Publication wishes to express its ap- 
preciation of the courtesy of the Yale University Library for 
the loan of the American Museum for August, 1787. from 
which the "'Essays of Sylvius/' here reprinted, were trans- 
cribed. The other essays are by members of the Society, 
Mr. Carr being a graduate of Trinity College in the class ol 
1915 and Mr. Ruark in the class of 1914. 

Beginning with the present academic year a prize of 
twenty-five dollars is offered by a friend who wishes his name 
withheld, to that member of the Historical Society, who is also 
an undergraduate student in Trinity College, for the best 
essay in the field of Southern History. 

Wm. K. Boyd, 
For the Committee on Publication. 

October 1, 1915. 



Letters of Sylvius 

Essay on the consequences of emitting paper-money: 
on the necessity and advantages of encouraging 
american manufacturers! of the beneficial effects 
of an alteration in the present mode of taxation, 
etc. — in a series of letters written in north caro- 



— Law's schemes in France — To the freemen inhabi- 

Friejids and Fellow Citizens: 

In every part of these states, the great scarcity of money 
is become a common subject of complaint. This does not seem 
to be an imaginary grievance, like that of hard times, of which 
men have complained in all ages of the world. The misfortune 
is general, and in many cases it is severely felt. The scarcity 
of money is so great, or the difficulty of paying debts has been 
so common, that riots and combinations have been formed in 

* Dr. Hugh Williamson, the author of the Letters of Sylvius, was born in 
Pennsylvania in 1735. and removed to North Carolina in 1777, making his resi- 
dence at Edenton. He was surgeon to the North Carolina troops in the Revolu- 
tion, a member of the legislature in 17S2 and 1785, delegate to the Continental 
Congress in 1782, 1733, and 1784, one of the commissioners to the Annapolis 
Trade Convention of 1786, member of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and 
of both state conventions of North Carolina which considered the ratification of 
the constitution, and also representative from North Carolina in the first and 
second Congresses of the United States. About 1793 -Dr. Williamson removed to 
New York City, where he lived until his death in 1819. In 1812 appeared h;s 
Historv of North Carolina (2 vols., Philadelphia), an introductory volume, Obser- 
vations on the Climate of America, having been published in 1811 (New York). 

The Letrers of Sylvius appeared serially in the American Museum, _ August 
number, 1787. They were also issued in pamphlet form, a copy from Williamson's 
library being in possession of the New York Historical Society. Published anony- 
mously shortly before the adjournment of the constitutional convention, the Letters 
show the evils of paper money, advocate an excise rather than land and poll taxes, 
and favor the promotion or' domestic manufactures. They also give an interesting 
account of commercial and economic conditions in the United States, with con- 
siderable information respecting life in North Carolina. Although a valuable 
source for conditions during the age in which they were written, the Letters are 
very rarely referred to in histories" and monographs relating to the period of the 
Confederation. Hence the present reprint- — \Vm, K. Bovd. 

6 Historical Papers 

many places, and the operations of civil government have been 
suspended. This is the more remarkable, because three years 
have not passed since money was very plenty. A calamity of 
such magnitude lias deservedly drawn the attention of every 
legislature in the union. In some of the states, paper-money 
has been emitted, as the best or the most convenient remedy by 
which the sufferings of the people can be relieved. The Gen- 
eral Assembly of this state (North Carolina) has already had 
recourse to two emissions of paper. Certainly, when any arti- 
cle is scarce, the general remedy is, to make more : and if it 
shall be found, when money is scarce, that private and public 
debts can be honestly discharged by a new emission of paper, 
the expedient is admirable, for it is the most easy process by 
which debts were ever paid: this, however, is a subject on 
which many doubts have arisen. It is not questioned whether 
there are means by which we may be enabled to discharge our 
debts, and become opulent and powerful : but there are many 
who believe that our debts cannot be fairly discharged, nor our 
citizens relieved, much less can they become rich, by the manu- 
facture of paper money. It has also been my lot to entertain 
some doubts whether the best regulations have hitherto been 
adopted, for preserving justice, for relieving the oppressed, 
and for securing the prosperity of the state. These doubts 
have given rise to the present address. 

This is a question, my fellow citizens, that claims your 
utmost attention: for no subject of equal importance has been 
presented to your view, since the declaration of independence. 
We are going to consider whether the administration of gov- 
ernment, in these infant states, is to be a system of patchwork, 
and a series of expedients — whether a youthful empire is to 
be supported, like the walls of a tottering ancient palace, by 
shores and temporary props, or by measures which may prove 
effectual and lasting — measures which may improve by use, 
and strengthen by age. We are going to consider whether we 
shall deserve to be a branch of the most poor, dishonest, and 
contemptible, or of the most flourishing, independent, and 
happy nation on the face of the earth. 

The reader is not interested in knowing who the writer of 
these letters may be. A bad argument is not mended by the 

Letters of Sylvius 7 

supposed abilities of its author: and a good argument does not 
require parental support. In the meanwhile, he counts it his 
duty to declare, and he does it with humble gratitude, that his 
complaints are not occasioned by personal misfortunes; but he 
finds himself a member of a great family ; he interests himself 
as a brother in the happiness of his fellow-citizens ; and he 
suffers when they are grieved. 

The more I consider the progress of credit, and the in- 
crease of wealth in foreign nations, the more fully am I con- 
vinced that paper money must prove hurtful to this country ; 
that we cannot be relieved from our debts except by promoting 
domestic manufactures : and that, during the prevailing scar- 
city of money, the burdens of the poor may be relieved by alter- 
ing the mode of taxation. Here are three separate and distinct 
propositions; they shall be considered apart, in order that each 
of them may fall or stand by its own weakness or strength. 

In public measures, as in the conduct of private life, it will 
be constantly found that "honesty is the best policy." This 
maxim is somewhat old : but it is not become useless. A paper 
currency which is a legal tender, even when it may be depre- 
ciated 20 or 30 percent is not generally considered as an honest 
tender: and there are many reasons for believing that such a 
currency will not finally prove useful to the states. I say it 
has not generally been considered an honest tender. There 
are many people who say the money ought not to have depre- 
ciated. They say that necessity justified the manufacture ; and 
that we are bound to receive such payment as the law pre- 
scribes : but I never have heard any man say, that it would be 
perfect justice to pass a law, by which every creditor should be 
compelled to receive three-fourths or two-thirds of his debt, 
instead of the whole debt, and yet such a law would be per- 
fectly similar to the tender of depreciated paper, except that it 
would be a proof of more frugality and plain dealing: for it 
would be calling things by the right name, and it would save 
the expense of paper-coinage. 

However convenient depreciated paper may appear to those, 
who use it in the discharge of debts, we have already dis- 
covered that the credit and finances of these states are injured 
by paper-currency: and we shall certainly continue to suffer, 

3 Historical Papers 

unless we can be relieved from it. There has ever been found 
much difficulty in shaking oil the prejudices of education. We 
have been accustomed to the use of paper-money while we con- 
tinued a dependent province. Such a currency was properly 
calculated to prevent the growth of manufactures, and to con- 
tinue our dependence and poverty. Surely, under a change of 
circumstances, there should be a change of measures. We 
ought now to consult our own prosperity, and not the emolu- 
ment of Great Britain, or any other kingdom. If we are will- 
ing to take a lesson from other governments, we shall rind that 
money is not to be made out of paper, for there is not an em- 
pire, kingdom, or state under the sun, where debts may be leg- 
ally discharged by paper money, except in some of the United 
States of America. It is admitted that a paper medium, under 
the form of bank-notes or government-securities, is circulated 
in France. England, and most other commercial countries : but 
nobody is compelled by law to receive the payment of any debt 
in such money : hence it is, that the paper of those countries 
bears no resemblance to ours, except in name. Every man re- 
ceives a bank-note or refuses it at pleasure. When he receives 
it, he knows that on the next hour he may have it changed for 
gold or silver, as the bank is obliged to make such payments on 
demand. For this reason, bank-notes, being portable, are fre- 
quently preferred to coin of the weighty metals. But it never 
was found that bank-notes could be circulated at par, unless 
when it was believed that they might be exchanged for solid 
money : nor could they be circulated, if they were declared to 
be a legal tender. The reason is obvious — the whole value of 
paper is imaginary, and men do not believe by compulsion. 
Every attempt to force a man to believe that paper is equal in 
value to silver implies a consciousness that it is not equal. It 
injures what it was intended to serve. Though the paper- 
money which has been emitted in North Carolina in the year 
1783, had depreciated 20 per cent arguments were invented in 
the last year for making more money. It was alleged that 
under the regal government a greater sum of money had been 
circulated without much depreciation, and consequently a sec- 
ond coinage might take place; it would not depreciate. This 
argument was plausible, but not solid: for the value of paper 

Letters of Sylvius 9 

is never round to depend on the quantity in circulation, but on 
the security that appears for its redemption. The Bank of 
England, which belongs to a company of private subjects, cir- 
culates notes to the amount of thirty-two millions of dollars, 
though it is not believed that they have above fourteen mil- 
lions in specie at any time on hands ; but every man can get 
money for his note when he demands it. In the year 1716, 
soon after the death of Louis XIV, the celebrated John Law, 
in company with some other gentlemen, obtained a patent for 
a banking house at Paris. They issued notes, in which they 
promised to pay the bearer, on sight, a certain sum, in gold and 
silver of the weight and fineness then established by law. As 
the late king had altered the weight or quality of the current 
coin ten times during his reign, and the same thing might be 
done again. Law's notes, which were not so subject to depre- 
ciation, were preferred to specie at one per cent. Such were 
the effects of a general confidence in good payment. Within 
the space of four years, notes were issued by Law and Com- 
pany to the amount of two hundred and twenty-five millions of 
dollars, which was twice as much as all the specie in France ; 
but the notes retained their credit, because the company were 
thought to be honest and able to pay. On the twenty-first of 
May, 1721, the Duke of Orleans, Regent of France, issued a 
proclamation, by which he reduced the value of bank-notes to 
half the nominal sum. They were depreciated fifty per cent. 
This was a proof of the want of integrity, and it operated ac- 
cordingly; it destroyed public confidence. It did not merely 
diminish the value of the notes — it annihilated them; and on 
the twenty-second of May, one guinea in gold could not have 
been purchased in Paris for one thousand guineas in notes. 
The history of paper-money, in all ages, is uniform. Its value 
depends on the confidence of the public. Let government give 
a single proof that they ought not to be trusted— confidence 
vanishes, and "like the baseless fabric of a vision, leaves not a 
trace behind." Let us compare this with the history of the 
paper in some of our states, and consider whether it ought 
to have retained its value. The first emission of the state of 
North Carolina, in 1783, was to have been redeemed by the 
sale of forfeited estates. That foundation was soon removed : 

10 Historical Papers 

and those estates were converted to another use. The money 
d predated and recouree was had to another coinage. This 
second structure was raised, if possible, on a worse foundation, 
for it had not even the appearance of stability. Taxes are paid 
for calling in the money, and it is immediately restored to cir- 
culation. Was it expected that such money should pass as 
gold or silver? No, certainly. The legislature themselves do 
not seem to have expected that it should be considered of equal 
value. Tobacco, a staple of North Carolina, has been purchas- 
ed by the public for two prices in this new money : and credi- 
tors at the same time are compelled to receive it as specie, in 
the payment of debts. Is this justice? Strangers will call it 
by a different name. 

I have attempted to shew, according to the fate of paper in 
other countries, that it was not to have been expected, that our 
money should pass as gold or silver. Everybody knows, that 
it is more or less depreciated in all the states which have 
emitted it. It is therefore not a good payment, though it be a 
legal one. I shall now endeavor to show that it must finally 
prove hurtful to the states, and that it could not have brought 
us substantial relief, though the whole of it had passed as 



ox paper money — consequences of debasing the coin 

of a nation imports of pennsylvania ditto and 

Exports of North Carolina — causes of the scarcity 
of money — ruinous effects of importing such im- 
mense quantities of luxuries as are introduced into 
America — injustice of trade laws. 

Friends and Fellozv Citizens: 

It is painful in all cases to animadvert on public measures, 
lest we should hurt the feelings of any citizen with whom such 
measures have originated. But truth is the friend of every 
man : and the author of every public measure, if he be a good 
man, treats it as other men do : he supports it while he believes 
it to be good ; he forsakes it whenever he finds it to be hurtful. 

Letters of Sylvius 11 

For this reason I snail proceed freely in considering the effects 
of paper-money. I have said, that paper-money, which is a 
legal tender, must prove hurtful to this country ; when made, it 
must depreciate, and the effects of depreciation are unfriendly 
to industry, injurious io the poor and destructive or good 
morals. On the supposition that the paper currency in some of 
the states has depreciated one-third, it will follow, that the 
different citizens to whom this money was first paid, in its 
depreciated state, must have lost 33 1-3 per cent on every 
payment: but as every bill of paper may have passed frequent- 
ly from hand to hand, it will follow, that the several citizens of 
that state may have suffered the loss of ten times that sum by 
receiving bad money, instead of solid coin, to which they were 
entitled. This must have been a very considerable tax : and un- 
fortunately it was a tax of the most pernicious kind: for it was 
a tax on the frugal and temperate in favour of the idle, the 
profligate, and luxurious. It cannot be right in government 
to protect and encourage vice. It is a plant that thrives suffi- 
ciently in every soil, without the help of legislative authority. 
In support of a measure that agrees so little with the common 
ideas of justice, we have been told, that money was wanted for 
the sake of the poor,' that they might have a medium wherewith 
to pay their debts and taxes. Whoever has reflected on the cir- 
culation of paper-money, will be apt to say, that the honest poor 
man has not been the chief gainer by it. There is some diffi- 
culty in discovering how the poor man should be prohtted by a 
coinage of money. If he had been possessed of marketable prop- 
erty, before the money was made, he might have sold it for the 
full value : for there has been no season in which produce has 
not sold for more than its worth. The exporters have been 
losers. If the poor man had no property for sale, neither 
could he have got any of the new money, unless it was to have 
been given away. There is doubtless some obscurity in this 
business, unless we allege, that depreciation was intended, and 
this we are not willing to suspect. Let us suppose that the poor 
man may have gained a trifle by the depreciation of money; 
what is such a gain when compared with his sufferings by the 
loss of credit? No man can expect to borrow money, nor ob- 
tain goods on credit, when government does not support the 

12 Historical Papers 

creditors against dishonest payments by base money. When 
the rich are taught by government not to give credit, the suffer- 
ings of the poor must be increased: and when credit is de- 
stroyed, industry- must languish: for they are constantly found 
to flourish in proportion to the honesty of government, and the 
stability of the legal money. So lately as in the 43d year of 
Queen Elizabeth, the coin of England was debased almost nine 
per cent by Parliament, and about that time the coin of France 
was frequently altered. The commerce of those nations suffer- 
ed greatly by such instability. They have since profited by 
their good faith. There is no country in which the value of 
money has been so perfectly stable, as in Holland, for the last 
two hundred years ; and it is admitted, that no country has 
prospered so much by commerce, nor is there any in which 
the interest on money is so moderate. Security of property has 
ever proved the spur to industry: hence we find that arts and 
commerce have flourished most in republican governments; for 
in absolute monarchies, the value of money is not stable, and in 
despotic governments the case is worse : in such governments 
we seldom find much industry. In republican governments, 
the property of the citizens has generally been safe. To this 
we ascribe the progress of arts and commerce, and the conse- 
quent wealth of Athens, Carthage, and Venice ; of the Hans 
Towns and the United Netherlands. In those republics, the 
governments have not been used to depreciate their coin. Time 
will show how the experiment succeeds with us. The chief 
advantage that appears to have arisen from depreciated money, 
is, that fraudulent debtors have been enabled to discharge 
their contracts on easy terms. It is admitted that the debts 
of citizen to citizen may be somewhat lessened by this species 
of payment: but the foreign debt is not diminished by such 
means ; on the contrary, while we are using those desperate 
remedies against one another, our foreign debts have been in- 
creasing every year. 

Most of our debts have been contracted since the 
spring of 1783. If our imports could be compared with 
our exports, the balance against us would be the amount 
of our debts ; but it is difficult to determine what has been 
the amount of foreign goods imported into these states since 

Letters of Sylvius 13 

me peace. Our public accounts cast but a faint light on this 
question. Generally speaking, without a boat or searcher in 
any of our ports, — the strictest attention not being paid to the 
revenue — people are invited to smuggle goods ; detection is not 
apprehended ; and time has nearly established the contempt of 
custom-house oaths. The amount of goods imported into 
Pennsylvania, since the peace, and consumed there appears to 
exceed two millions of dollars a year. In fixing its quota of 
the national debt, we find, that in the year 1783, Pennsylvania 
was supposed to contain 320,000 inhabitants, and Xorth Caro- 
lina to contain 170,000, which is more by 10,000 than half the 
number contained in the former state. It is true, that negroes 
were taken into the estimation : but three negroes were reckon- 
ed as two whites. According to this estimation, we should 
suppose that the consumption of foreign goods in the State of 
North Carolina has been equal to more than one million of 
dollars every year. It may be objected, that winter is more 
severe in Pennsylvania than in Xorth Carolina, and that three 
negroes do not consume the same value of clothes as two 
whites. This objection is more than balanced by observing, 
that nearly two-thirds of the citizens of Pennsylvania have 
originated in Germany, or the north of Ireland; and have im- 
ported such habits of industry and dexterity in the mechanic 
arts, that they make little use of foreign manufacturers. Di- 
vide one million of dollars by 170,000, and it does not give 
quite six dollars for each person. Part of the inhabitants, 
suppose one- fourth of them, being slaves, and three slaves be- 
ing counted as two whites, there will not be four dollars for 
each slave. We admit, that the annual consumption of many 
slaves, in foreign goods, is below four dollars, even when rum 
is included: and some white inhabitants do not consume to 
the amount of six dollars: but there are many who consume 
ten times that quantity. This computation was made on the 
supposition that no goods have been smuggled into Pennsyl- 
vania : but some of the citizens of that state have also calcu- 
lated, that the account of perjury, like the tenor of their re- 
spective wills, is not to be examined till after death. They 
have conducted themselves accordingly. This inference is 
founded on a late association of merchants in Philadelphia to 

14 Historical Papers 

prevent smuggling. We may fairly add 200,000 dollars for 
this account. 

We shall now consider what have been the annual c\ - 
ports of North Carolina, in order to determine the amount of 
debts contracted since the peace. The produce exported from 
Currituck, Edenton, Bath, Newbern and Wilmington, in the 
last year seems to be valued not too high, when stated at $506,- 
700.* The tobacco, rolled into Virginia, and produce conveve | 
to South Carolina may be stated at 400.000 dollars, and there 
will remain a balance of £1 17,320 not accounted for. Accord- 
ing to this computation, North Carolina has contracted a debt 
of 293,000 dollars every year to foreigners, or to people who 
live out of the state, to be paid to foreigners. No part of this 
debt has been discharged by the operations of paper-money, 
the whole advantage of depreciation being a mere juggle, by 
which one citizen is injured for the convenience of another. 
Their extravagance therefore, is the sole cause. of this alarm- 
ing scarcity of money. They consume more than they can pay 
for; and, until they become frugal and more industrious, the 
grievance must increase, notwithstanding their little attempts 
to elude the burden, by throwing it upon one another. If no 
debts were due in the state, except those which are due to 
merchants, or the importers and retailers of goods, they would 
long since have discovered the true cause of the scarcity of 
money; the merchants' books would have told the amount of 
their debts : but it is an unfortunate circumstance, that a small 
share of those may be directly due to the importers of goods, 
though the whole of them are occasioned by such importations. 
In order to account for this, we are to consider, that merchants 
have a better opportunity than other people to receive payment 
of debts: for produce of all sorts will suit them instead of 

Thus it may happen, that A buys a horse from B, for which 
he is to pay eighty dollars, as soon as he shall have sold his 
crop. B purchases cattle from C, for eighty dollars, which he 
is to pay, when he receives payment for his horse: and C em- 

* In this computation, tobacco has been valued at 26s. the hundred. Pitch ^and 
turpentine at 10s. Tar 6s. Pipe stoves 81. hhd. staves and heading 41. Corn 
15s. the barrel. The whole to be paid in specie at the port where they are shipped. 
Merchants know best whether they are worth more, considering the various bur- 
dens with which our commerce at this time is loaded. 

Letters of Sylvius 15 

pi -s D to repair his house, for which he is tc pay him out :: 
the pri 2 _ : his cattle. I:: the meanwhile, A. tempted by the 
allurements of a ::e:i''::::n: store buys foreign goods, ; 
gauzes, rum and such jther necessaries, for the use :: hh 
fam id he vers the --.-hole of his crop in pa] ment, for 

- is allc r _ :. : lerc - price. Thence i: must follow, 
B, C. D, and every other letter in the alphabet, are iis- 
i :h : : them i- in iebt, and they oh complain of the 
- ctaty :: money, without perceiving that all these iebts con- 
tinue to be unpaid, :r :rr. the folly : : A in buying foreign goc 
a:: I yet the gc ; is are paid for. Thus it is, that our ::t:zens are 
universally involved: many :■: the Iebts are iue to merchants : 
but a much greater annua: is lue :: people whc ire not mer- 
: nts : 2nd we seen: not tc hive .if tovered. that v.- a are neariy 
ru at - by foreign luxuries, let any man cast his eye on this 

ic >unt: let him think :: a state whose citizens are riven uj tc 

indolence ana vanity — who, in the space of three years, rave 

ged . vnselves in debt a: least three hundred thousand 

: him iserve how the property of ou** citizeas is 

. . D >rtgaged ::• strangers and foreigners, ana the inheri- 
tance ::' . : _ thiMren bartered away for fineries and fopperies: 
le* h we tne desperate situation to which we are re- 

luced, merely to obtain a transient rriease. The dignity :t 
government is wounded — base money is declared to be a legal 
t< 1 ier — the diligent man is plundered for the ':eneht of the 
indolent and extravagant — industry languishes, for property is 
not safe — the orphan is defrauded* — and the most atrocious 
frauds are practiced under the sanction of the law. Surely, it 
is high time that other measures were adopted. 


* S wne na nths igi i young adventurer, in Xbrtli Carolina, marrie I a 

•ho ■- - iree res She zhr.cti t: -.ive :. --.r.: :.::: :-•.:::• ffl the 

third: raged 1 the children \ .-:..- . :...~ :e ~. 

F the specie for the chi ren: aid 1 - father • 

paper at I -. - - - rtea sfc lings lt md s - ill be a 

for the - the rphan- [sit grange that river iepreciates 

5 -•- 2 ~ e n ire p r _ rv.ei :. :h s : . . : : 

16 Historical Papers 




poor ix England and France — fallacy of the idea 
that it is better to consume foreign goods than 
American, as the former are cheaper. 

To the Freemen Inhabitants of the United States — Friends 
and Fellow Citizens: 

In all cases, it is more easy to complain, than to point out 
the means of relief. It is also more easy to give wholesome 
advice, than to adopt proper remedies. It is a downward, easy 
path that leads to ruin : but it is a rough and uphill road, which 
leads to prosperity. Every amendment is at first unpalatable. 
For this reason, I shall recommend with indifference, what is 
likely to be followed with reluctance. 

We complain in general, that money is scarce. YVe are mis- 
taken about facts : for the thing alleged is not altogether true. 
Pride, or the force of habit, prevents us from discovering the 
truth. There is no country in which money may be acquired 
with more ease than in America : and every man has it, who 
has any right to expect it, except in cases where government 
interferes. But most of us ought not to have any money : we 
have not deserved it : for we have expended more money since 
the peace, than we have gained : whence it is, that we neither 
have money, nor any kind of marketable property, by which we 
can pay our debts : no man or body of men can have either, 
whose expenses exceed their income. There is a certain and 
plain process by which our complaints may be relieved : — the 
bad effects of indolence and luxury must be cured by dili- 
gence and economy : and the whole of our debts may be dis- 
charged in a few years by industry and frugality. When are 
we likely to obtain money by such means? No man can at- 
tend to the prevailing conduct of the Americans, without ex- 
pressing his fear that the period is very distant. Instead of 
finding general proofs of industry, economy, temperance, and 
other republican virtues, he sees a nation that is more luxuri- 
ous, more indolent, and more extravagant, than any other peo- 

Lettees of Sylvius 17 

pie on the face of the earth. In drawing this figure, I may be 
charged with high colouring: but the reader is requested to 
examine the original, and if he finds us the most luxurious and 
improvident of all nations, he will certainly admit that some 
restraints might help to increase the quantity of money among 
us, or might prevent the occasion for it. 

Every empire under the sun is supposed to be indepen- 
dent of any other: that is to say., the subjects of every empire 
are supposed to enjoy a natural as well as a political indepen- 
dence. It is presumed that they clothe and feed themselves. 
This, in former times, was obviously the case in all countries : 
but the introduction of commerce has produced many seeming 
variations from this rule. Industrious nations, which have 
more provisions or clothing, of any particular quality, than are 
necessary for their own consumption, send them abroad to be 
exchanged for money, or for some other kind of clothing or 
provisions which they like better, or which they cannot prepare 
with the same ease: but still their exports and their import 
are nearly equal, and the quantity of imported goods consumed 
by every nation, bears a very small proportion to which they 
consume of their own manufature. This is true even of the 
Spaniards, though national pride or indolence seems to furnish 
them as an exception to this general rule. They depend on 
other nations for many important manufactures. The conse- 
quence is obvious. Though they possess the rich mines of Mex- 
ico and Peru, they are, by neglecting useful manufactures, be- 
come a poor nation ; and are every year decreasing in numbers 
and strength. 

We observe that most other nations maintain a kind of 
barter or exchange of manufactures with one another: but 
still the great body of the inhabitants, rich and poor, are 
clothed in the manufactures of their own country. Is this 
the case in the United States? With us the master and his 
slave, the farmer, the mechanic, and merchant, are all clothed, 
from head to foot, in foreign manufactures: this is not be- 
cause we have not got hemp, flax, and cotton sufficient : there 
is no country where those articles are produced with less 
trouble; nor is there any difficulty in procuring wool. But our 
imports are not confined to clothing. No small share of our 

18 Historical Papers 

furniture is of British manufacture. Saws, hammers, hoes, 
and axes, are also imported, as if the wolf had made war 
against our iron as well as against our sheep. In every small 
town we are cherished with Irish butter and beef, and with 
British ale, porter, and cheese, as if the country did not pro- 
duce hops, barley, or black cattle. Lest absurdity should not 
go on stilts, and folly ride the great horse, we make large im- 
portations of hazle and oak sprouts, under the name of walk- 
ing canes. Surely there is no scarcity of wood among us : but 
our sticks are not foreign. In excuse for all those follies, we 
are told, that a man has the right to all the comforts of life 
which he can pay for: and perhaps it may be questioned, 
whether he has a right to give examples, and introduce follies, 
that may prove ruinous to his fellow citizens. Under the head 
of luxuries, we may fairly include every imported article, be- 
cause this country certainly produces all the necessaries of life. 
It is hardly requisite to visit a large town in order to determine 
whether the luxury -of dress is become an offense against de- 
cency, as well as a sure road to bankruptcy. In this remark, 
no particular reference is made to the dress of either sex: for 
they are equally attentive to the privilege of being in fashion. 
It is true, that some doubts have arisen concerning the mean- 
ing of the word fashion. In most countries, fashion in dress 
is understood to mean the form and quality of clothing, which 
is used by the most respectable inhabitants, or by the great 
majority of the nation. From late observations, we are taught 
to suspect that the word has a different meaning in the United 
States. Among us, a person is understood to be in perfect 
fashion who is rigged off with something that has not been seen 
or heard of before in the state. On this principle it is, that we 
have seen new forms of head-dress, like bullets in a pop-gun, 
kick out one another so fast that we could hardly learn their 
names as they passed in review. Perhaps we shall be told, that 
an American is not in fashion, who dresses like other Ameri- 
cans : he must dress as people do in London. If they change 
their clothes once in a month, so must we. If they wear but- 
tons of the size of a saucer, in the form of a hexagon, or a 
square, so must we. What a pity it is, that fashions should 
wear out in London, before they can arrive at New York or 

Letters of Sylvius 19 

Phiadelphia. If there was a glass in the moon, we might catch 
the fashions as they rise. How does it tare with nations who 
have no change in the fashion of their clothes? Have the wo- 
men in those countries fewer charms, or have the men less 
discretion, than we have, who are subject to weekly revolu- 
tions? Surely, the whim of this day has no more intrinsic 
beauty than the whim of yesterday. 

In old nations, where manufactures flourish, and where 
wealth is unequally distributed, some of the inhabitants being 
exceedingly rich, and the great body of them miserably poor. 
it is wise in the government to encourage luxury and caprice in 
dress. By those means, the wealth of the rich circulates 
through the hands of the manufacturing poor. But our situa- 
tion being entirely the reverse of theirs, what is sound policy in 
those countries, must be folly and madness among us. When 
we encourage luxury, it is to enrich another nation, and to 
make our own citizens poor. Can there be a greater treason 
committed against the states ? The Chinese and Japanese, 
great, politic, and wise, nations are distinguished by a national 
dress. The Dutch, though they are surrounded by nations who 
are as changeable as the moon, have submitted to little varia- 
tion in dress for two hundred years. Their commerce does 
not, like that of France and England, depend on their manu- 
factures : and nothing less than rigid economy could make 
them respectable. Nothing but necessity can justify us in the 
use of any foreign manufacture. Doubtless, the word neces- 
sity is very ambiguous. Most people contend that what they 
buy is necessary, provided they can barely discover the use of 
it. We' have the daughter of a labouring mechanic pay her 
afternoon's visit, dressed out in more lace, ribands, gauze, and 
silk, than her father could have earned in twelve months in any 
part of Europe. Were those things necessary ? We have seen 
a young buck, the son of a planter, who scarcely sold one hogs- 
head of tobacco in the year, on his way to quarter-races fitted 
out for the sake of propriety, with white silk stockings under 
his boots, a pair of Durable black silk breeches, and more 
silver on his saddle and bridle, than the value of his father's 
estate, if his debts were paid. These were a few of his neces- 
saries. It is very observable, that in other countries, people 

20 Historical Papers 

who live by their industry, and are obliged to pay their debts, 
do nor find such things necessary. It is alleged that in Eng- 
land, the food, raiment, and other necessaries of a labouring 
man, cost him annually about 7.10s. sterling: deduct a moder- 
ate allowance for food. fuel, and house-rent, how much will 
remain for clothes? The Marshal de Vauban, considering 
what raxes may be paid by a labouring man in France, esti- 
mates his annual expense in clothing at somewhat less than 
forty shillings of our money : This includes the clothing for 
himself, his wife and two children. It may be noted, that half 
the subjects, both in France and in England, come within the 
foregoing predicament : they are either mechanics or day- 
labourers. Compare their expense with ours, in the article of 
dress ; and it must be admitted that an epidemic madness has 
laid hold of us. 

It is alleged, that the citizens of the United States have 
contracted debts, within the last three years, with the subjects 
of Great Britain, to the amount of near six millions of dollars ; 
consequently, our estates are mortgaged for that sum. Painful 
sensations must arise to even,- man who loves his country, 
from the prospect of such beginnings. Thus it was, that Cor- 
sica was mortgaged to the more industrious citizens of Genoa, 
for silks and velvets : and it was afterwards sold to a foreign 

We shall be told, in excuse for imported luxuries, that we 
buy goods cheaper than we can make them ; and that a man 
earns more in his tobacco or corn-rleld, than he could earn at a 
loom, or by other manufactures. These positions are fallacious 
and ill-founded. Both experiment and calculation prove them 
to be false. During the late war goods were dear, and we did 
not run into debt : for we bought few — manufactured some — 
and were frugal. Since the peace, goods have been cheap, and 
we have nearly become bankrupts. It appears that our earn- 
ings in the held have not been equal to the price of the goods 
that we have consumed. Even- domestic manufacture is cheap- 
er than a foreign one. for this plain reason : by the first noth- 
ing is lost to the country, by the other the whole value is lost ; 
it is carried away never to return. It is perfectly indifferent 
to this state, or to the United States, what may be the price of 

'Letters of Sylvius 21 

domestic manufactures, beause that price remains in the coun- 
try. Ever\- man is supposed to he employed in some profession 
— he is a mechanic, etc., or he is employed in raising provisions 
for those who are. In Great Britain, the farmers are to the 
manufacturers as four to three. In this state ( North Caro- 
lina), where provisions are more easily raised, the number 
may be equal, because the labor of one man in the field is 
more than sufficient for the nourishment of two. Let the 
manufacturer demand what he pleases for the produce of his 
labor, the farmer can easily settle the account by selling his 
provisions accordingly. The annual consumption of goods in 
this state has been estimated at a million, or rather a million 
two hundred thousand dollars in specie, or produce to that val- 
ue, have been sent out of the state, and we are so much the 
poorer. Suppose the whole of those goods had been manu- 
factured within the state, or a sufficient quantity for our con- 
sumption, and that they had cost the consumers, or been valued 
at two millions of dollars; would the citizens of this state have 
lost eight hundred thousand dollars by this difference in price ? 
The very reverse would have happened. They would have 
gained, or they would have saved, one million two hundred 
thousand dollars : for not a single dollar would have been sent 
out of the country. 

No man is to say that a thing may be good for individuals., 
which is not good for the public ; or that our citizens may thrive 
by cheap bargains, while the nation is ruined by them. He is 
neither a politician, nor a patriot, who would use such a cloak. 
Let us turn our attention to manufactures: and the staple of 
cur country will soon rise to its proper value : for we have 
already glutted every foreign market. By this expedient, 
instead of using fictitious paper, we shall soon obtain hard 
money sufficient; instead of toiling in the field, and becoming 
poor, that we may enrich the manufactures of other countries, 
we shall prosper by our own labor, and enrich our own citizens. 


22 Historical Papers 


Further remarks ox tender laws — necessity of encour- 
aging American manufactures — advantages of a 
national dress — absurdity of servilely copying the 
fashion of Europe — Xew England well calculated 
for manufactures — interesting statement of the -sum 
contributed by america to the support of the govern- 
MENT of Great Britain, by consuming her manufac- 

To the Freemen Inhabitants of the United States — Friends 
and Fellow Citizens: 

It has ever been found, that speculative reasonings are weak 
and inconclusive, when opposed to the prejudices or passions 
of a nation. There is something so bewitching in luxury* and 
idleness, that nothing short of hard necessity can banish them; 
perhaps this great reformer is not far distant. When a man 
sees his fellow-citizens posting at full speed to destruction — 
when he sees them attempt 'to mortgage their whole estate for 
a whistle and bells, and the legislatures of some of the states 
holding a candle to the prevailing folly, by cherishing the idle 
at the expense of the industrious — he comforts himself that 
the race is nearly ran. It was not sufficient that the whole pro- 
duce of our country during the last three years has been ex- 
changed for luxuries — all the hard money that could be collect- 
ed was also exported ; but there was still a remnant of hard 
money in many of the states — the people retained it for the 
necessary purposes of exchange, and merchants could not get 
it out of their hands. In order to banish this remnant of hard 
money, our legislatures are following one another in making a 
paper tender. By this happy expedient, people will be enabled 
to ruin themselves ; every farthing of specie, which seems to be 
obnoxious, will be exported, and we shall be as poor and penni- 
less as Tartars. 

When our merchants are involved in a general bank- 
ruptcy, and when the officious friendship of foreign merchants 
is sufficiently punished, who tempted us to run in debt, there 
will be an end to the importation of foreign goods, and neces- 
sity will effect what prudence could ftot. 

Lettees of Sylvius 23 

I ha\ e for some time looked for those marks of political 
virtue, those proofs of self-denial, which produced the revolu- 
tion. I have expected to see associations formed by gentle- 
men in the several states, for promoting American manufac- 
tures. For as soon as we can make our own clothes, and our' 
own arms, we shall be perfectly independent. Surely the man 
who is clothed in American manufactures, which he wears for 
the sake of enriching his native country, and relieving his 
fellow-citizens, may be allowed to have some claim to patriot- 
ism, which is the most honorable garb that can be worn. 

While we are considering of the various means by which 
our fellow-citizens may be relieved from a scarcity of money, 
the subject of dress claims our particular attention. Our in- 
terest and our honor are united in recommending a national 
dress. National prejudices are useful: they attach people to 
those of their own country, and induce them to assist one 
another. In most cases, a national language answers the pur- 
pose of distinction : but we have the misfortune of speaking the 
same language with a nation, who, of all people in Europe, have 
given and continue to give fewest proofs of love. We do not 
count it an honor to imitate the forms of government that pre- 
vail in Europe — why should we think it honourable to imitate 
the fashion of their coats? "0 imitatores, servile pecus!" 
Why should we imitate the dress of a man from London, more 
than of a man from Ispahan, Pekin, or Constantinople? 
Surely we do not mean this imitation as a mark of hom- 
age to a Briton — nor do we pay it as a tribute, though it 
renders us tributary. We do not mean to acknowledge 
that Britons are superior to ourselves in everything, 
whence we should imitate and strive to copy them. How, 
then, are we to account for this sycophantism ? Though 
it was profitable, we are placed thereby in a point of 
view so humiliating, and so offensive to the common 
feelings of men, that we ought to break the fetters, and give 
another proof of our being free. But since the imitation of 
English fashions cannot cost the United States less than five 
millions of dollars per annum — every argument for economy 
as well as pride seems to recommend a national dress. What 
would be the best form of a national dress from head to foot, 

24: Historical Papers 

a dress to be adopted and persevered in. This question may 
possibly be answered by some person who shall attempt the 
change. If a few respectable citizens in every state should 
undertake the change, beyond doubt it would soon become uni- 
versal. It is true that national dress, like their several forms 
of government, has been established in most countries by a 
long process of time and accidents : but the Americans have 
had the resolution to shake off a set of prejudices, and at once 
to establish a new system of government. Such a nation might 
easily shake off the trammels of English fashion in the hat or 
coat, especially when it is considered that great saving and 
other solid advantages would accrue from such a measure. If 
a national dress be adopted, we shall have nothing to appre- 
hend from the effects of caprice. We are not to fear lest 
every adventurer, who arrives among us with a new figaro 
on his back or head, should eclipse our dress, and claim the 
greater attention of the ladies. It will constantly be found that 
the national dress in every country, is more decent and pleasing 
to people at large, than any new adventitious or foreign dress. 
Every stranger who comes among us, will think it best to as- 
sume the dress of the country. If he affects to become a citi- 
zen, he will find it necessary. It is the privilege of a conquer- 
'ing nation to impose its dress upon the conquered. This be- 
comes a mark of subjection. There has been a notable excep- 
tion to this rule. When the Tartars conquered China, the 
Chinese had the good fortune to preserve their dress, and the 
Tartars submitted to a change : hence the Tartars in that very- 
empire are considered as secondaries and inferiors. Whether 
we shall submit to the perpetual rule and customs of England, 
and acknowledge ourselves subordinate, is a question that is 
not likely to be determined speedily. The present appearances 
csre against us. I have mentioned the English, because it is 
certain that we do not copy French dress, though that also 
would be folly. 

The measures to which I have referred, would certainly re- 
lieve us from a scarcity of money: but they are rather to be 
effected by the spirit of the nation, than by legislative inter- 
position. They are rather to be effected by voluntary patriotic 
associations, than by express and particular statutes. It is im- 

Letters of Sylvius 25 

possible to foretell where any salutary measure is to have its 
beginning; but as the amendment in question will doubtless be 
produced by the combination of sundry causes, I should natur- 
ally expect that some of the eastern states would give us the 
example. Not because the citizens of those states are at this time 
distinguished by the frugality of their dress ; for we believe that 
no people in the United States have fought more greedily to 
ruin themselves, by the luxury of dress., than some- of the in- 
habitants of the eastern states. Nor is it because the tradesmen 
or mechanics in those states have any particular claim to patri- 
otism, if it be true, as has been reported, that as soon as the 
legislature of Massachusetts had imposed a heavy tax on cer- 
tain imported goods, to encourage the manufacture of similar 
articles at home, the mechanics raised the price of those very 
articles by the full amount of the tax. For instance, two 
dollars being the tax that was laid on beaver hats — the hatters 
immediately added two dollars to the eight dollars they had 
formerly demanded for a beaver, as if they wished by extra- 
vagance to provoke a repeal of the law, or to promote smug- 
gling. If such reports are well founded, and if such instances 
of extortion are common among the mechanics in the eastern 
states, we are not to look for proofs of signal patriotism amoni: 
them. The eastern states are particularly circumstanced with 
respect to foreign commerce. They produce nothing fit for 
exportation. The fishery cannot be considered as theirs ; for it 
is common : and the trifling amount of lumber and live stock, 
the produce of the country, that is exported cannot be suffi- 
cient to clothe one-tenth of the inhabitants. In the mean- 
while, it is very observable, that no people can be more con- 
veniently situated for the purpose of extending manufacture- 
than the citizens of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecti- 
cut, and Rhode Island. The climate is extremely healthy, nor 
is it too warm for a white man to labor through the whole 
summer. Domestic slavery, which has ever been found un- 
friendly to manufactures, does not prevail among them. A 
great proportion of the inhabitants are contiguous to one 
another in small towns, which are the proper nurseries ol 
manufactures, and most of those towns are situated on 01 
Rear a water-carriage. The citizens are naturally industrious 

26 Historical Papers 

and tractable. Whatever raw materials they want, can easily 
be procured from the southern states. As the number of citi- 
zens increases in thQ manufacturing towns, provisions may be- 
come scarce: but the corn and rice of the southern states must 
afford them a convenient and constant supply. Vessels that 
are not employed by winter in the fishery, may be usefully en- 
gaged in carrying provisions in exchange for manufactures: 
for in such a soil and climate as the southern states, there must 
ever be a redundance of provisions. Surely, then, it may be 
expected, that the citizens of the eastern states will be among 
the first manufacturers. There we see a people who cannot 
long persevere in the course they have been running — a people 
who are persuaded by every argument of prudence and sound 
policy to adopt other measures — are we not to expect some use- 
ful, some great and patriotic examples from that quarter! 

If other arguments are wanted to induce us to promote 
domestic manufactures, and a national dress, we had best con- 
sider the question concerning imported goods, as it effects our 
own revenue, compared with the revenue of a foreign king- 
dom. When the subject is viewed in this light, we must admit 
that our present measures are neither supported by patriotism, 
nor by any other civil or political virtue. 

The foreign goods annually consumed in this state, have 
been estimated at more than one million of dollars ; perhaps we 
may fairly state the amount of British goods at that sum; con- 
sequently, the subjects of Great Britain are enriched by our 
follies to the amount of four hundred thousand pounds per 
annum. How much do we contribute towards the taxes of 
Great Britain by such a consumption of her manufactures? 

This is a question that has not been fully considered : but 
I think the amount may be fairly stated at seven hundred 
thousand dollars by the year. To some Americans this com- 
putation may appear extravagant : but gentlemen who have 
seen the burdens that are borne in foreign countries will not 
think it too large. It is generally alleged that a man pays 
fifteen shillings for the use of government, out of every twenty 
shillings that he spends in England. Some have stated the 
public tax at seventeen shillings in the pound. Let us take 
an instance in the article of beer. 

Letters of Sylvius 27 

The land pays a tax. The barley which grows on it, when 
malted, pays an excise of six-pence by the bushel. Hops pays 
one penny by the pound. The beer, when brewed, pays an 
excise, greater, in some cases, than the original value. And 
all the persons who labour in the premises, contribute to the 
national revenue, by their sundry consumptions to the amount 
or three-fourths of the whole price of their labor: this also 
must be charged on the beer. Surely, then, the consumer of 
beer pays more than seventeen shillings to government for every 
twenty shillings which he expends in that liquor. But I have 
taken fourteen shillings in the pound, as a moderate estimate 
of the sum that a man in America pays towards the support of 
government in Great Britain, who consumes British manu- 
factures. It follows of course, that we have, for the last 
three years, been paying into the British treasury a tax up- 
wards of two hundred thousand pounds per year. Strange 
liberality! While our own taxes are neglected, our government 
degraded, and our private debts unpaid, we are freely giving 
up the last farthing for the support of a foreign government. 
The whole of our foreign debt would have been discharged by 
a smaller sum than we have already paid into the British 
treasury: but our money is gone, and every part of the foreign 
loan remains unpaid. While we are neither honest nor grate- 
ful to those who befriended us in the hour of distress, we are 
extremely beneficient to those who stand in a different pre- 
dicament. A nation that takes so much pains to injure itself, 
cannot possibly prosper. If the general use of British goods. 
In these states, could be improved so as to bring a fifth part 
of the sum into our treasury, that it brings into the treasury 
of Great Britain, our civil government would be well supported, 
our foreign loans discharged, our national honour preserved. 
and our citizens fully relieved from the burden of positive 
taxes. These are objects devoutly to be wished. 


28 Historical Papers 


On the necessity of altering the present mode of tax- 

an excise on luxuries particularly calculated for 

To the Freemen Inhabitants of the United States — Friends 
and FeU&w Citizens: 

In all governments, the relief of the poor should be one of 
the chief objects of legislative attention. Every citizen demands 
justice and protection from government. These should not — 
they cannot be refused. But the poor man has other claims. 
His wants and his sufferings must be in proportion to his de- 
gree of poverty. Humanity requires that his sufferings be pre- 
vented or relieved, so far as may consist with the steady and 
impartial administration of justice. It is inconsistent with 
honesty or sound policy, that the rich should be defrauded or 
plundered, for the sake of the poor : but the fiscal and econo- 
mical laws of every state should be so framed, as to encour- 
age and assist the poor in their usual employments. The ne- 
cessary burdens of civil government should be so fashioned, as 
to press on their shoulders in the most convenient and easy 
manner that is possible. The general payment of taxes is ab- 
solutely necessary to the support of any government : but 
when money is remarkably scarce, it must be difficult for the 
poor man to pay his taxes : and in many cases, he may find it 
impossible to make the annual payments, without the public 
sale of some part of his property. Every distress of this kind 
ought to be prevented, if possible. Perhaps the most easy and 
effectual method of preventing the poor man- from being dis- 
tressed in the payment of taxes, is by altering the general form 
of taxation, or by substituting an excise in the place of a tax 
on property, which is common in North Carolina. 

That tax, or additional price, which in most countries is 
laid upon certain goods, when they are sold for consumption, 
is called excise. Thus, a retailer of spirituous liquors may be 
required to pay for the support of government, one shilling for 
every gallon of wine that he sells : and the shop-keeper may be 
obliged to pay half a crown for every yard of silk or cloth he 

Letters of Sylvius 29 

sells. This tax is very different from the customs, or duties 
that are usually paid on the importation of foreign goods. It 
is a subsequent tax, and frequently much heavier. In many 
cases, it is laid on articles of domestic production. In Eng-, 
land, several millions are annually raised by an excise : in 
France, the revenue from an excise is larger : and in Holland 
almost the whole of the national expenses are paid by different 
excises. Almost everything in that country, which a man eats 
or drinks., is subject to an excise: and in some cases, the excise 
is nearly equal to the prime cost. 

It has frequently been said, that when the citizens of any 
state are obliged to raise a certain sum of money by the means 
of taxation, there can be little difference by what name the 
tax is called, or how it is laid. But this opinion is ill founded. 
The capitation-tax, and land-tax. such as are usual among us, 
are inevitable and positive taxes : they are not to be averted. 
The industrious man cannot elude them: the unfortunate can- 
not escape them. Every citizen must take out his purse, and 
pay the amount. But the excise is a negative or indirect tax. 
When it is laid on foreign goods, no man is obliged to pay any 
part of it: and when it" is laid on domestic luxuries, no prudent 
man will pay much of it. It will frequently happen that the 
most virtuous and industrious citizens are greatly distressed by 
domestic sickness : and it will happen, that whole countries are 
distressed by intemperate seasons and short crops. In all 
such cases, the excise operates as a relief to the citizen : for he 
buys no luxuries on that year, and consequently he pays no 
taxes, provided luxuries only are excised. 

Let us suppose a very frequent case :. a poor man is possess- 
ed of one hundred acres of land, hardly worth one hundred 
dollars. His land-tax will be twenty-five, and his poll or per- 
sonal tax fifteen shillings. Does it not frequently happen, that 
the public officer, at the season for collecting taxes, finds such 
a man without forty shillings in his pocket? Perhaps he is 
seldom possessed of so much money at a time. It would cer- 
tainly be strange if the poorest man in the state, who is not a 
cripple, could not earn, in the year, three times the sum that 
has been mentioned, besides what is necessary for the support 
of his family: but economy and a provident foresight are not 

30 Historical Papers 

the characterises oi the poor. In fact, the poor in these sfc 
are generally poor because they want those qualities: v 
then, are we to suppose a man to have the thing, which we 
ought rather to suspect he has not? Or why shall we make it 
necessary for a man :: treasure up money for several months, 
who never cared for tomorrow? The land-tax or the personal 
tax may appear a: f.rst = :rlv: :: be small burdens: but exper- 
ience has taught us that they are not easily borne. On the other 
hand, the most indolent or the most careless citizen cannot pos- 
sibly be incommoded by an excise. If he should have no money 
in the course of the year, nor anything to sell, he will not be 
able to buy anything, and consequently will not pay any tax. 
Whenever he shall be able to buy any foreign commodities, he 
will pay his tax in buying the goods : for the excise is added on 
the price of them: it is paid by the merchant. Suppose the 
excise on rum to be one shilling the gallon, whoever buys one 
gallon of rum, must pay a tax of one shilling: for in this case, 
the rum will cost him six shillings instead of five. The same 
rule may be applied to every article of foreign make. Pru- 
dence would dictate, that articles which are least necessary, and 
articles which may soonest come to perfection in the state, 
should bear the heaviest tax. ■ The natural and constant opera- 
tion of this tax is two-fold. It is a voluntary tax. and it is a 
spur to industry. Xo man pays the tax. who is not- able and 
willing to buy foreign luxuries : therefore it is voluntary. The 
man who is diligent, and manufactures for himself, has no oc- 
casion for those luxuries : therefore it is a spur to industry. 
In a word, all taxes on property are burdens on the good citi- 
zens: they discourage industry. All excises, or taxes on con- 
sumption, are taxes on luxury and dissipation ; they punish 
idleness and promote industry. Can we hesitate in making our 
choice ? 

The opinions of men have been variously affected in dif- 
ferent countries, on the question concerning an excise, or a 
land-tax, according to their passions or their prejudices. In 
England, the excise has been unpopular, because the multitude, 
who are poor, suspect that they are chiefly affected by such 
taxes. They continue to prefer a land-tax, because none of 
themselves have any land. Doubtless, a land-tax is very proper 

Letters of Sylvius 31 

in that country, because the owners are wealthy, but in Ameri- 
ca the case is different : the poorest of our citizens commonly 
possess a little land. In France, a land-tax is very obnoxious, 
because ii is thought to infringe upon the privileges of a num- 
ber of nobility. Their excise is chiefly on the necessaries of 
life ; and is, for that reason, very burdensome. The revenue of 
the Roman Empire, in its prosperous days, arose chiefly from 
excise and customs. That jealous and wise nation did not 
readily submit to a personal or to a land-tax. There was a 
very hurtful trade carried on between Rome and the East 
Indies, by the way of Alexandria and the Red Sea. By this 
trade, a large balance of silver was exported from the empire; 
frequently to the amount of three millions of dollars a year. 
The returns were chiefly in silks, jewels, and spices — perfect 
luxuries ; for which reason their East India trade was charged 
with a heavy excise.* Augustus ventured to impose a tax of 
five per cent on legacies and inheritances, which was very pro- 
ductive, with the advantage of being a negative tax. The 
land-tax, and poll-tax, had been long in use through the pro- 
vinces : but they do not appear to have been generally imposed 
on the Roman people before the reign of Galienus, who suc- 
ceeded Dioclesian. From that period, direct or positive taxes 
became universal. What was the condition of the Roman peo- 
ple under the administration of customs, excises, and other 
negative taxes, compared with the times in which the land- 
tax, the poll-tax, and other positive taxes, were universal? 
It was an age of gold, compared to that of iron. Humanity is 
shocked at the tales of woe that are told. Parents are said, 
during the latter ages of the empire, to have sold their children 
and themselves into slavery, in order to shun the burden of 

All wise governments have thought it their duty, on special 
occasions, to offer bounties for the encouragement of domestic 
manufactures : but an excise on foreign goods must operate as 

* If we admit that the excise on East India goods was equal, as we are told, to 
an eighth part of their price — and if we also admit, as Pliny alleges, that East 
India goods were sold in Rome at one hundred for one on the prime cost, and that 
3,<>3,5$2 dollars and upwards, were annually transmitted to India for the pay- 
ment of those goods, the excise must have exceeded forty-six millions of dollars 
annually: bat tboagh silk may have been sold, as is affirmed for its weight in gold, 
the general advance seems to have been stated too high: be this as it may, it was 
very proper that a trade so destructive of money, should be compelled to con- 
tribute greatly to the public revenues. 

32 Historical Papers 

a bounty. Suppose that our annual imports into these states 
are worth 4,000,000 pounds, an excise equal to a tenth part, 
would bring 1,100,000 dollars into the treasuries. This would 
be a very respectable addition to the revenues of these states. 
and would operate in proportion as a bounty for the encourage- 
ment of domestic manufactures. It is true, that as our manu- 
factures increase, our revenue by excise must decrease : but our 
abilities to pay taxes by some other means, must increase much 
faster than the excise decreases. Thus, an excise of two shill- 
ings may be paid in the purchase of a pair of imported shoes, 
which are supposed to be worth ten shillings : the tax goes into 
the treasury : but ten shillings, the price of the shoes, are sent 
out of the country. The next year such a pair of shoes is made 
in the country : in that case, the two shillings are sunk in the 
revenue, but ten shillings are saved to the state, and some of 
the citizens are so much the richer. 

When I say that an excise is more favorable to the poor, 
than a poll-tax, or a land-tax, or any other tax on property, 
and that it tends to promote industry and wealth, I must con- 
stantly be supposed to mean an excise on luxuries, or imported 
goods : and I would also be understood to mean an excise that 
is impartially laid, and fairly collected. Our expectations on 
this head, are not sanguine ; nor is the prospect very pleasing : 
for some of the laws that we have hitherto made for collecting 
duties, are shamefully defaced by the want of public spirit: 
they are full of ambiguities through which the knavish and the 
cunning may creep. In North Carolina, it was enacted, that a 
merchant importing goods by land to the value of five pounds, 
should pay duty for the same : but a planter might import goods 
to the value of twenty pounds, though he imported them for 
sale or merchandise, without paying any duty. The author of 
such a clause must have forgotten that he was bound to serve 
the public rather than himself, and that the revenues of the 
state are not to be sacrificed to the convenience of a few 

The general advantage of a sumptuary law, or an excise 
upon imported goods, is so obvious, that I question whether 
any objections can be made to it, except the probability of 
frauds being committed in secreting the goods. Surely the ex- 

Letters of Sylvius 33 

pense of collecting any tax, cannot be an object, when the hap- 
piness and prosperity of a state are contrasted with discontent, 
poverty, and disgrace. If the expense of collecting the revenue 
should amount to ten per cent, no part of that money would bo- 
lost to the state : and the diligence of public officers might prove 
the means of enriching the country. 

In all places, and at all times, it has been too common for 
merchants to endeavor to defraud the revenue by smuggling 
goods. The frequency of this offense seems at length to have 
akered men's ideas concerning the turpitude of perjury, or 
the baseness of stealing: and there are men who would steal 
from the nation, or defraud the revenue, yet would not on any 
account cheat a private citizen. Be this as it may, there are 
means by which smuggling may be prevented* ; and when the 
people at large have discovered, that they must submit to pov- 
erty and to oppressive taxes, or must support the faithful exe- 
cution of the revenue laws, they will presently admit, that it 
is both honorable and useful to set a mark upon the man who 
violates the laws of the state. 

I have said, that an excise is more favourable to the poor 
than a land or poll-tax. I will venture an additional sentiment: 
there never was a government in which an excise could be of 
so much use as in the united states of America. In all other 
countries, taxes are considered as grievances : in the united 
states, an excise on foreign goods would not be a grievance : 
like medicine to a sick man. it would give us strength: it 
would close that wasteful drain by which our honour and our 
wealth are consumed. What though money was not wanted — 
though we did not owe a florin to any foreign nation — though 
we had no domestic debt — and though the expenses of civil 
government could be supported for many years without a tax 
— still it may be questioned, whether an exise would not be 
desirable. It would certainly be the best expedient for pro- 
moting domestic manufactures : and the condition in which we 

i v, ■ f%very merchant or vender of goods may be required once in a month to set- 
tie b;s accounts, and pay up the public money or excises he has collected: though 
he sells on credit, he" is' to account for the excise. It may be required of every 
citizen. that he shall receive from the seller a bill of parcels for every article of 
Eongn goods he may buy in the state or out of it. Once in every six months 
*vry freeman or head or a family should render an account to the revenue-officer 
tor thi county, of all the forign goods he has purchased, by producing the bills, 
up&n oath. And he should then pay the excise "on all goods he may have bought 
Out ot the state. The several bills for goods purchased from particular merchants, 
when compared together, may prove a pretty sure mode of detecting frauds. 

34 Historical Papers 

now live — our genera! dependence on a foreign country for 
arms and clothing — is dishonourable — it is extremely dan- 



Further remarks on an excise — hardships of the pre- 


PLOYING British vessels as the carriers of the pro- 

To the Freemen Inhabitants of the United States — Friends 
and Fellow Citizens: 

In all ages of the world, and in all governments in which 
the people have been oppressed, their chief complaints have 
arisen from the weight of their taxes, or other impositions of 
a similar tendency. Some tyrants there have been, whose 
cruelty has extended to life as well as property: but the com- 
mon distinction between tyrants has been, that one of them has 
imposed more grievous taxes, or laid them on with less regard 
to the convenience or to the abilities of the subject. Hence it 
is, that governments are preferred, where the power of taxing 
is in the hands of the people : because it is presumed that they 
will impose such taxes as are most profitable, and most easily 

It may happen, nevertheless, that in a republican govern- 
ment the general system of taxing arising from prejudice or 
inattention, may not be of that kind which is most conducive 
to the ease or prosperity of the people. This I take to be the 
case in many of these states; and as the subject is extremely 
interesting, the reader will doubtless excuse me, though I de- 
tain him somewhat longer in considering the particular equity, 
as well as the general operation of an excise or impost, by 
which the whole of the national debt may be discharged. Part 
of our taxes must be paid in specie, and some of them may be 
paid in paper. The interest and principal of our foreign debt 
— the salaries of our ministers in foreign and home depart- 

Letters of Sylvius 35 

nu*nts— and the pay of such troops as are necessarily employed 
in I'ne service of the united states, must be discharged in hard 
money. We shall state the expenses of the federal govern- 
mnf to be 4(30,000 dollars by the year; for we presume that 
great economy will be used, till we are able to pay our debts ; 
.ivi'i that we shall try to be just before we are generous. The 
-tare.- have not hitherto been called upon for anything more 
than interest on the foreign debt: but the principal of the 
French loan, as well as that from Holland, is to be paid off 
fay instalments, and the first of those payments is to be made in 
the year 1787, from which time some part of the principal is 
to be paid off every year. Within twelve years the debt is to be 
reduced to a quarter of its present size : but, in the meanwhile, 
the payments of the principal and interest will amount to near 
one million of dollars by the year. This must be paid in specie, 
or in such payments as will command specie to that value : 
but there is a considerable debt which may possibly be dis- 
charged by paper. The annual tax that may be paid in this 
manner, is very uncertain : for though we should discover that 
some of the states have, by assuming a considerable part of 
the continental debt, and by other means, nearly paid their 
quota of the domestic debt, contracted by the united states, still 
it will follow, that the particular debts contracted by the states, 
must be paid. Certificates have been issued for the amount 
of those debts by one class of auditors or another: how is the 
certificate-debt of this state to be reduced? How is it to be 
d.scharged ? These are difficult questions : they are beyond the 
powers of ordinary calculation: conjecture itself can hardly 
reach them. It has been alleged, that our certificate-debt 
bears some resemblance to that many-headed monster, which 
defied danger : whenever one of its heads was cut off, two other 
heads arose to support the loss. Debts of this kind cannot be 
reduced to the ordinary rules of finance. 

We have seen that a tax is to be collected annually for 
the use of the federal treasury in specie, unless we are willing 
to forfeit our honour, and give up ail pretensions to national 
character. Is it probable that we shall be able to raise half 
of this sum by all the various taxes on property? I think nor. 
It is certain that the whole of our taxes for the present year, 

36 Historical Papers 

after the civil list of the state is paid off, will not produce half 
the sum in specie required for the use of the federal treas- 
ury. Let the poll tax, or land-tax, be increased to three times 
the sum that is now demanded, and there would still be a 
deficiency: but the consequence would be great distress to the 
poorer class of citizens, and multitudes would be constrained 
to fly into the western territory: thousands would complain 
of the scarcity of money; more paper must be emitted; that 
paper would again depreciate, and the taxes must again be 
doubled. Thus we should for ever be climbing the hill, and 
for ever sinking to the bottom. But we have other objections 
to taxes on property — they are extremely unequal : they cannot 
be justified, except by necessity, and such necessity does not 
appear. Is it equal or just, that a citizen who lives near a thick 
settlement, or one who lives in the wilderness, should pay the 
same tax for his land, his slave, or any other property which 
he possesses, as a citizen pays who lives near the sea coast? 
The last mentioned takes his lumber, and everything that his 
farm produces, to a ready market: the other can get nothing 
for his lumber; corn itself is of no use to him when money is 
wanted, and there are few things his farm produces that will 
pay much more than the expense of carrying them to market. 
Those people complain at present — and their complaints are 
well founded — though our taxes are so small as hardly to 
deserve the name : what would they say, if the taxes were such 
as the honour and safety of the nation require? 

Let us consider, on the other hand, the effects of a sub- 
stantial tax on luxuries. As it would be an easy matter to 
raise the whole sum that is wanted both for the federal treasury 
and for our own civil list, by an excise on foreign goods, I 
conceive that all our taxes might be given up, except a small 
land-tax. Lender such an administration of the public revenue, 
the whole of our paper money might be called in within the 
space of three or four years : for in that time the industrious 
citizen may have discharged his private debts; and as he will 
not be called on for the payment of taxes, there can be no 
honest reason for making more paper. The immediate and 
necessary consequence of such taxes will be the increase of 
domestic manufactures, and the general circulation of hard 

Letters of Sylvius 37 

money. Let us raise 1,000,000 dollars in the next year by im- 
ports and excise : the consequence will be, that in the following 
year we shall import less goods by at least the amount of 
500,000 dollars, and thus we shall become £200.000 the richer 
— that is to say. we shall have paid oft so much of our debt ; 
or, being out of debt, we shall have laid up so much hard 
money; for whenever our exports exceed our imports, the 
balance returns in specie. If any man has doubts concerning 
the effects of large taxes on foreign manufactures, he should 
turn his eyes to the eastern states, and he will discover, that 
during the late war, sundry manufactures had there been car- 
ried to considerable perfection. We had not been six months 
in the enjoyment of peace,, before those manufactures were all 
ruined. The mechanic is generally the first who perceives the 
effects of a pernicious commerce, for the support of his family 
depends on his daily labour. Hence it is, that the merchant 
may be profited by a particular branch of commerce, and may 
promote it diligently, while his country is sinking into a deadly 
consumption. It is the duty of the statesman, either to check 
or to promote the several streams of commerce by taxes or 
bounties, so as to render them profitable to the nation. Thus 
it happens in Massachusetts — A tax of twenty-five per cent, 
was lately imposed on nails, and the poor of Taunton were im- 
mediately restored to life and vigour. If our informer is cor- 
rect, there are at least two hundred and fifty labourers em- 
ployed in the manufacture of nails in that little town. The ef- 
fects of sumptuary laws must be extremely favorable to the 
industrious citizen, who lives one or two hundred miles from 
any navigable water. In those parts the land in general is 
fertile, and provisions are cheap, for they cannot be sent to a 
foreign market — there it is that the manufactures of linen, 
woolen, and iron may flourish. The citizen near the coast 
may possibly indulge in the use of foreign luxuries, while he 
can get them in exchange for a piece of timber, or a bushel of 
com: by such men our taxes must be paid. But the citizen, in 
the interior country, will attend to his manufactures, which 
may readily be transported to any part of the state : and within 
a few years, we may expect to see the most plentiful-circulation 
of specie in those remote settlements, which are now labouring 

38 Historical Papers 

under the unequal burden of taxes. By such a system of 
finance, perfect justice will be rendered to every citizen; thev 
will stand on equal ground: and no man will have reason to 
complain : for every man will fix the amount of his own taxes.. 
They will be limited by his abilities, his caprice, or his pru- 

In every regulaton of finance, we should have an eye to a 
vast unsettled country: fertile soil and happy climate invite 
the foot of the adventurous citizen. The inhabitants of that 
country, whenever they are formed into separate states, are 
bound by the present federal rule to pay their quota of the 
national debt, according to the value of their lands and im- 
provements ; or it may possibly be expected, in order to shun 
the impracticable estimation of property, that their quota shall 
be as the number of citizens. Is it to be expected, that men, 
who live at such distance from market, will, for many years, 
pay taxes to the amount? Surely it is not. Though they 
should promise, they will not be able to pay. For this reason, 
we should take care, that the operations of finance shall not 
banish any man into that country. Let the citizen have it in his 
power to live on the sea coast, equally secure as in the western 
countries, without risque of troublesome visits from the col- 
lectors of taxes. In course of time, manufactures must flourish 
in those settlements : and the citizen on the sea coast, who ex- 
ports his produce, may find it his interest to buy goods that are 
made in the western countries. At such a time, we may ex- 
pect that our brethren there shall, without difficulty, contribute 
their share to the support of government. In the meanwhile, 
little can be expected from them, except that they may con- 
sume a small portion of the foreign goods which pay tax when 
they are imported into some of the original states. 

As our manufactures increase, our imports must decrease 
in proportion; and before the foreign debt is discharged, or be- 
fore thirteen years have revolved, our annual importations may 
fall short of 200,000 dollars. In this case, certainly the revenue 
on consumption must be greatly diminished; but we are to rec- 
ollect that many articles which grow in these states, must be in 
constant demand in other countries, and that our sale is very 
productive; whence our exports may be near half of what 

Letters of Sylvius 30 

are at present* after our - are reduced to a fourth 

i a fifth part of that ship. Such a change of circumstances 
must produce a balance oi specie in our favour to the amount 
of 1,000,000 pounds every year: and though it did not produce 
half that sum, there would certainly be a large supply of specie 
m circulation: and the balance of our quota might easily be 
raised by sumptuary laws of another sort. 

Such are the present advantages and future effects that may 
be expected to spring from large and general taxes on foreign 
goods. Let us contrast this with our present condition and 
system of finance. We have stated, in a former letter that bv 
the consumption of British manufactures, to the amount of 
one million of dollars, we contribute at least 700,000 toward; 
the revenues of that nation, while our own are perishing: but 
there are other misfortunes and other marks of servitude, to 
which we are subjected by our present arrangement, and the 
general use of British goods. In the several states, to the south- 
ward of the Deleware, it is agreed, that three-fourths of the 
rroduce are exported, and a similar share of the returns arc 
made in British bottoms. It will be found that for exporting 
lumber, and bringing back the returns, at least one half of the 
property is paid to the carrier. Tobacco, our chief staple, i? 
exported on better terms. Those who have shipped ^obacco 
for London, have the satisfaction to find, that after all charges 
are paid, that is to say, freight, commissions, brokerage, and 
the variety of ot'ver expenses, real or imaginary, there are 
frequently remaining two-thirds of the value for which it was 
sold. In some cases, three-tourths of the value have been, 
saved. The freight of the returns must be added, and we shah 
state the whole, though it is considerable below the mark, at 
33 1-3 per cent. Some part of those goods are carried in? 
American bottoms, by which something is saved to the coun- 
try, under all the present burdens of that trade: for this reas- 
on, we shall state the average loss at thirty per cent. From 
this computation it appears, that when produce is shipped for 
London, in one of the southern states, to the value of one 
million dollars, the British merchant draws from that sum 
at least three hundred thousand dollars, under the name of 
freight and other contingencies: this money is for ever lost 

40 Historical Papers 

to the country : and the remaining seven hundred thousand 
which are returned to us in dry goods, must have contributed 
to the revenues of Great Britain at least four hundred and 
ninety thousand dollars. We take them burdened with that 
expense. Surely, our present commerce is of the most extra- 
ordinary kind. Poverty is not the most humiliating circum- 
stances by which it is attended : for under the name of free- 
men, we are little better than slaves — degraded by national 
bankruptcy — burdened by private debts — and constantly la- 
boring in the soil for the benefit of another empire. When 
good and evil are before us, we prefer the latter. We have it 
in our power to promote manufactures — to bring thousands of 
industrious tradesmen from foreign countries — to discharge 
our debts — and to become respectable, rich, and powerful : in- 
stead of that, we are fluttering about in foreign dress, for 
which we cannot pay — we are aping the vices of other nations, 
while we neglect their virtues — without patriotism, and with- 
out pride, we are feeding other people, while our own nation is 
sinking under weakness and poverty. Thus we have seen 
an idle and thoughtless debauchee neglect the improvement 
of his farm, and spend his time and his estate in a tavern, sup- 
porting the family of another man, while his own family were 
perishing by cold and hunger. 



Statement of the labour requisite in North Carolina 
to support families — comparative view of some coun- 
TRIES in Europe — however distressing the present sys- 
tem of Britain is, it is likely to be attended with 
beneficial consequencies to america. 

To the Freemen Inhabitants of the United States — Friends 
and Fellow Citizens: 
In these letters, I have endeavoured to explain the true 
cause of the present scarcity of money — the surest and best 
method of obtaining a sufficient supply of substantial coin — and 
the safest method of administering the public revenue, so as to 
prevent the poor from being oppressed, while money is scarce. 

Letters of Sylvius 41 

\\ e are toid by medical people, that in discovering the true 
cause of any disease, a considerable progress is made towards 
its cure. It might appear strange, that a fact so obnoxious as 
the true cause of the general scarcity of money should have v 
escaped the notice of any person. But it must be remembered, 
that when troubles are occasioned by our own vices, we are 
generally dextrous at invasions, and ingenious at fictions : for 
if we confessed our fault, it would be expected that we should 
amend. Our farmers contend that the merchants are the cause 
of all our troubles : they export the specie, and make it scarce. 
The merchant will have it, that our commercial system is bad : 
his profits are too small, for which reason he cannot pay his 
debts, but ail of them, who are in debt, are agreed, that it is 
hard living in this country. Strange positions. The farmer 
buys fineries: his family are idle: all the crop that he can sell, 
does not pay for half the goods he has bought: but he wants 
more fineries, and more rum. He can get no more credit : and 
he pulls out all the specie that lay in his chest. Is the merchant 
to be blamed, for shipping this specie, when the extravagance 
or indolence of the planter could furnish him with nothing else 
to ship? 

As for the merchants, or people who are so called, their 
complaints are just as well founded as those of the planter. 
Thousands of adventurers from the British dominions have 
added to the thousands of our own citizens who are too lazy 
to plough, or labour at any other calling, and for this good 
reason are become merchants, or more properly traders. This 
tribe increases much faster than any other class of citizens ; and 
this class we have to maintain, besides the misfortune of pay- 
ing for their goods ; but when any of those gentlemen find it 
inconvenient to pay their debts, they gravely complain of the 
scarcity of money, because our commercial system is bad. 
Certainly part of our system is bad ; for by proper regulations, 
nme-tenths of those merchants that are here, might be ex- 
changed for ten times the number of mechanics, who would 
render much more service to the public and themselves. The 
general charge of its being hard to live in America, has a worse 
foundation, if possible, than the other complaints. There is 
not, at this time, a civilized countrv on the face of the earth, 

42 Historical Papers 

in which a poor man may live with so much ease as in the 
united states of America. The modes of living are various in 
the. different states: I shall take an example from a southern 
state, namely. North Carolina. 

The necessaries of life are food and clothing. Three- 
fourths of the labor of the human specie are, doubtless, em- 
ployed in procuring food. In the most luxurious countries, 
where the greatest number of unnecessary things are used, 
more than half of the labouring inhabitants are employed in 
agriculture. It is observed, that in England, the very nursery 
of manufactures, the farmers are to the mechanics as four to 
three: the difference is greater in France and Germany: but 
many people are to be fed in those countries, who are neither 
farmers nor mechanics. Let us suppose that half the subjects 
employed in farming would raise provisions sufficient for the 
whole nation, and for their cattle ; for that the labour of one 
family in the field is sufficient to maintain two. The produce 
of our labour is greater, and the labour we employ is less. 
Every man who has visited foreign countries, knows with what 
diligence farmers and mechanics are obliged to labour though 
the year. In the winter, their work begins before day : and in 
summer, it continues through the day. They have little respite, 
or time for spending money. If one of them is accosted, he 
seldom stops to answer the question — his work must go on. 
This is not the case in North Carolina: nor have we any ex- 
ample of what other people call industry. If my calculations 
are right, and some of them are annexed,* the citizens of this 

* When the land is good, a labourer, by the help of an indifferent horse, hardly- 
worth twenty dollars, may raise seven hundred and fifty bushels of corn in the 
season. He may tend two thousand five hundred hills, which will produce six 
barrels to the thousand. In ordinary land, he may raise two hundred and fifty 
bushels. We may take four hundred bushels for an average, instead of five hun- 
dred. Two labourers, when there are two in the family, may raise near twice the 
quantity: and one good horse is sufficient for both. This corn is planted in May; 
and the care of it Ls finished in July, except that it is pulled in November. One 
quart of corn by the day is sufficient to make bread for a grown person. There 
are countries in which the same quantity of wheat or rye is the whole daily allow- 
ance of a soldier: and if we lived as three-fourths of the inhabitants of other 
countries are obliged to live, this would he the end of our calculation: but one 
pound of pork or beef is the daily attendant on our bread, else we complain of 
hard fare. Our farmers plant pease among the corn; and each labourer may count 
on the addition of fifty bushels of pease to his crop, with very little trouble. The 
planter, his wife, and three children, may he supposed to eat fifty bushels of corn 
in the year: fifty bushels more may be reserved for the occasional use of his horse 
and his hogs. This is sufficient, when »ve consider, that hogs not only support but 
frequently fatten themselves in the wood*, The a^-,^rance of pease and potatoes 
is employed when necessary. The remaining three-fourtha of the planter's crop 
of corn may be sold, and employed as prudence or, folly may dictate. 

If any man shall cast his t.-ye on this note, who is not acquainted with the state 
of farming in the lower districts of North Carolina, he might wonder that no 

Letters of Sylvius 43 

state may live with half the labour that would be requisite to 
support them in France. England, or Germany: for the labour 
of one family in this state is sufficient to raise food for the 
support of four families. Is the man candid or honest — is he, 
not ungrateful to heaven, who complains of such a country, or 
says, that his troubles are' occasioned by the necessary diffi- 
culty of living — by the difficulty of paying taxes — or of provid- 
ing food and raiment — or by any other cause than by his own 
vices — his idleness, and dissipation. 

Our present commercial system, if we have anything that 
deserves that name, is certainly a bad one: but reason may 
teach us to be moderate in our complaints. If the English 
ministry had not cut off all intercourse with their West Indies, 
and distressed our direct intercourse with Britain and Ireland, 
we should have continued a good while longer to take her man- 
ufactures, and to pay for them. By these means, her mechanics 
would have thriven: and we would have been insensibly settling 
down into inveterate and ruinous habits. Diseases which are 
slowly contracted, are said to be hard to remove. The meas- 
ures of Great Britain have in a short space prevented us from 
being able to pay our debts: and they have at the same time 
prevented us from feeding her own subjects. They have 
happily checked our folly, at a time when all are capable of 

allowance was made for the trouble of raising hay, oats, and such other provisions 
as are usually made for horses, sheep, and black cattle. Such a reader may be 
informed, that the blade or fodder of Indian corn is ail the provision for this 
purpose that is commonly made use of by the farmers; for the reeds which grow 
every where, and are green through the winter, serve as food for cattle. Perhaps 
it may be noted, that the computation is made for a farmer who has land of his 
own, and that no allowance has been made for the payment of taxes, nor for rents 
which are to be paid by the miserable tenants. To this it may be replied, that the 
present land tax is five shillings for the hundred acres: and poll-tax is fifteen shill- 
ings; such debts are soon discharged by an industrious man in a country like this, 
where the Spanish dollar being eight shillings, a pair of shoes is_ sold at 16s. to 20s. 
The day's labour of the carpenter or mason, brings him from eight to twelve shill- 
ings clear of his. provisions, and corn is sold at three or four shillings the^ bushel. 
As for the rents, by which the tenants are frequently grieved, no account is to be 
made of them in a state like this, where nineteen farmers out of twenty cultivate 
their own land. Though there are few citizens who suffer under the hands of a 
landlord, there are many who suffer by the indolence of living on poor and piney 
land. Like the sloth, they are too lazy to gather food, though they see where it 
is plenty. Such people hardly claim our pity. Every one oi them knows that on 
the other side of their mountains, on the western waters in this state, lie may buy 
lauds in great or in small quantities, at twenty-live dollars for the hundred acres— 
lands of such a quality, as will pro luce 30 or b0 bushels of corn to the acre. 
Complaints are not grievous that can be so easily removed. 

According to this calculation, the farmer has been employed three months in 
raising his corn, and he has raised m that space four tunes as much as was re- 
quired for the use of his family. He raised, in the same season, at the usual in- 
tervals, dax, cotton, potatoes* pease, and sundry other necessary or useful articles. 
How is he to be exerc:sed on the rest of the year? Some week., must be em- 
ployed in saving his fodder, corn, potatoes* &ev, and some weeks in repairing' His 
fences; but a great portion of his time lies vacant, and is usually employed »ri 
quarter-races, cock fights, sauntering in stores and taverns, drinking rum, and 
spending the residue of his crop. The calculation has been made tor the planter 

44 Historical Papers 

amendment, for we have not altogether forgotten the little we 
knew of the mechanic arts, nor the few habits of industry that 
we had formerly acquired. In a few years, we may be reduced 
to a new system, by which we shall be more wealthy and less 

Perhaps I deceive myself — but I think that I love my coun- 
try, and that no man living is more desirous to serve it — yet 
I am not grieved — on the contrary I view it as a fortunate 
event — that our commercial hopes have been disappointed, and 
a check given to the baneful spirit of luxury and the general 
use of British goods that was prevailing — Perhaps the time 
is not very distant, when we shall be a frugal and virtuous 
nation. We are not to thank Great Britain for the favor she 
has done us, for she did not intend those commericai restric- 
tions for our good. Let her continue to exclude us from her 
West Indies, and, contrary to good faith, to withhold the west- 
ern posts. The less we gain by commerce, the fewer of her 
manufactures we shall buy, and the sooner we shall make our 
own clothing. A nation less wise might have discovered long 
since, that liberal conduct is most profitable : but she refuses 
to be reformed. 

The commercial history of the united states is short. At 

labouring the field, who maintains three children, incapable of work; but in gen- 
eral half the children of every* family are capable to work; hence the surplusage of 
provisions by the labour of two hands will be greater. There they have a planter 
labouring the field, hardly six months in the year, who in that space raises four 
times the food that is required for the support of his family and cattle. In other 
countries, the farmer, by constant labour through the year, can hardly raise twice 
the quantity that is required for the same purpose. Is it not pretty clear that pro- 
visions, the chief necessary^ of life, ate raised in this state with less than half the 
labour that is required in France, England, or Germany? In the articles of cloth- 
ing, the difference of labour that may be required is not so great: but the differ- 
ence is still in our favour. Our winters being temperate, the inhabitants require 
less ciothir.g, and the raw materials are procured with more ease, or with less 
expense, than in the other countries that have been mentioned. Flax grows to 
great perfection, and the land on which it is sown, is cheap, and easily cultivated. 
Cotton is raised with very little trouble: and though the wolf continues to prowl 
in some neighborhoods, yet as sheep thrive well in this climate, and require very 
little feeding, we cannot say that wool ought to be dear. Skins, which are also 
used in clothing, ought to be cheap in a country where black cattle maintain them- 
selves through the winter; and where a man may kill a deer when he pleases for 
his breakfast. Surely the scarcity of clothing in this settlement cannot arise from 
the difficulty of obtaining raw materials. There is difficulty remaining — the raw 
materials must be made up, and the people are too lazy to work. Nothing has 
been said concerning house-rent or fuel. For in a country where a common lab- 
ourer may in a fortnight build such a house, out of timber, as is frequently used, 
and in a country where timber, the constant fuel, is frequently cut down, that it 
may be destroyed, very little can be charged to the account of house-rent or fuel, 
considerable articles in many other places. If it should be asked, how is the in- 
dustrious farmer in this country to spend the balance of his time? Fvery citizen 
knows, that he may be profitably employed in making tar, pitch, shingles, staves, 
boards, or some other species of lumber, which come to a ready market. By 
such means, and by the sale of his pork, or his corn, or other grain, every in- 
dustrious and frugal planter may, in a few years, double his stock. This cannot be 
said of farmers in other countries. 

Letters of Sylvius 45 

the end of the war. our merchants, forsaking the trade of other 
nations by whom we have been well treated, rushed into the 
arms of Great Britain' with a spirit that was not honourable, 
and with a haste that was not profitable. — They did not wait 
for terms. — They have suffered as they deserved. — Our ship- 
ping has been oppressed. — We have seen a vessel from these 
states to London, laden with naval stores, bring back, as 
the whole produce of her cargo, five pounds worth of chalk. 
The balance of her cargo was absorbed in charges. In conse- 
quence of such treatment our merchants are become bank- 
rupts a little the sooner. — The want of payment at home, and 
the want of profits abroad have effectually disabled them. 

The hfstory of our planters is rather more simple. Dis- 
carding their wheels and looms, they used nothing but what 
was British. They bought more foreign goods in one year, 
than they could pay for in two. Their produce is gone, and 
their specie is chiefly gone, but they are still in debt. Let us 
be more frugal, and more industrious — let us buy no more, 
till we pay our debts. Such are the dictates of honesty and 
patriotism. Is not this plan of paying our debts preferable to 
the expedient of making paper money — an expedient that sub- 
stitutes a shadow for a substance? It converts government, 
which was instituted for the protection of property, into an 
engine, for its destruction. After all, it is the poor expedient 
of a day, which promises relief that it cannot give. The whole 
process is such contemptible quackery, that while we are swal- 
lowing the potion, the disease increases. It is vain to prophecy 
— but if the time shall ever come, when the united states are 
to give up part of their liberty, as men frequently have done 
for the greater security of property, the rage of defrauding 
creditors, by making paper money a legal tender, is likely to 
produce the dishonourable change. If it is true, that men have 
not virtue enough to bear a government that is perfectly free, 
the proof is like to come from this quarter. If there were a 
state in this union, in which it was treason to attempt the mak- 
ing of paper, such a state would become the asylum of honesty, 
arts and industry; and if any of the new states in the western 
country shall happily provide this guard, as part of her con- 
stitution, that state will certainly flourish with singular speed : 

46 Historical Papees 

it will give a new proof that men are most happy when their 
property is safe, and that all men approve of virtue, whatever 
may be their practice. 

The reader is fully possessed of the plan that was proposed 
in the first of these letters, for giving relief under the present 
scarcity of money. The relief given by paper money is neither 
durable nor honest. Nothing but frugality and industry can 
bring us substantial relief; but the operations of industry, and 
the progress of manufactures, are slow. Specie, which is 
banished, cannot immediately return ; and the poor man, in the 
meanwhile, may be distressed for money to pay his taxes. In 
order to obviate this misfortune, it is proposed that the ex- 
pence of government be paid by an excise on all foreign manu- 
factures, or by sumptuary taxes, which are equally intended to 
promote domestic manufactures, and to give immediate relief 
to every industrious family By a steady perseverance in this 
plan, the poor would be relieved from the burden of their 
taxes — our citizens would be enabled to discharge their debts — 
we should increase daily in wealth — our country would be the 
resort of ingenious artists. Public and private credit would re- 
vive — and we should become truly independent. 


The Manhood Suffrage Movement in North 

By John W. Carr, Jr. 

The suffrage qualification which was brushed aside by 
the constitutional amendment ratified by the people in 1857 
had endured, m principle at least, since the earliest colonial 
times. The idea of a suffrage qualification was brought in 
under the Lords Proprietors in the Fundamental Constitutions. 
The proprietary government was established on the idea that 
land is the most important form of wealth and that land 
holders should have especial political power. When North 
Carolina became a royal colony these ideas continued in vogue. 
We cannot determine the exact nature of the suffrage require- 
ment under the royal control, but it is known that the king's 
government began with the principle of a free-hold qualifica- 
tion ; and this appears to have been kept during the larger part, 
if not all, of this period. 1 The lower house in colonial times 
claimed the right to regulate the suffrage requirement ; but 
the records would indicate that the assembly, while it passed 
certain acts defining the qualifications of voters, did so for the 
most part according to the instructions of the crown, which 
insisted upon a freehold qualification. 2 So it happened that 
the land-holding classes controlled political affairs at the time 
of the constitutional convention of 1776, and so framed this 
constitution as to keep the political power in the hands of the 

In the third Provincial Congress, which met in April, 1776, 
a majority of the constitutional committee was in favor of 
manhood suffrage, but a motion to incorporate this right in 
the constitution was defeated by the freeholders who con- 
trolled the Congress. In the campaign which followed the 
question of equal suffrage was an important issue, but the 
land-holders triumphed. 3 Thus the constitution of 1776, al- 
though it stated in its preamble that political power is in the 
hands of the people, allowed only such men as held consider- 

' Colonial Records, III 9.3, 467; V-ll, 137-42: VII-512-16. 

" Raper — North Carolina, A Study in Engtisn Colonial Government, p. 88. 
... , Boyd — Antecedents of the Convention of 1835 (The South Atlantic Quarterly, 
X o1 - rx , P- 86). Also, Wagstaff— State Rights and Political Parties in North 
Carohna, passim; Colonial Records, X, pp. 164-220. 

48 Historical Papers 

able property to hold office. The property requirement tor tl 
governor was land to the value of £1000. A senator had 
own three hundred acres of land, and a representative on 
hundred acres in order to hold his seat. The property holder-. 
not content with this, provided further that only fifty-acre free- 
holders could vote for a member of the State Senate. 4 Tax 
paying, however, was the only requirement in order to vote 
for a member of the House of Commons. 5 

It required about seventy years to remove this fifty-acre 
requirement for senatorial suffrage from the constitution of 
North Carolina. The reasons for this slowness are: First, 
the natural conservatism of the people of North Carolina ; 
Second, the economic conditions in the west, where most of 
the inhabitants were small Scotch-Irish farmers owning, as a 
rule, the required fifty acres of cheap mountain land. Thus 
these people were not deprived of the vote, and a condition 
bordering on democracy prevailed. The injustice of the suf- 
frage qualification was not acutely felt until the country be- 
came fairly populous and land rather hard to obtain. Third, 
the intricate methods of revising the constitution provided in 
the amendments of 1835 checked the cause of suffrage reform. 
. Previous to the convention of 1835 there was no agitation 
concerning free suffrage, for the second reason stated above. 
So this convention left the matter of free-hold qualification 
unchanged, but it did enact the two methods of amending the 
constitution that long delayed the passage of the free suffrage 
amendment. Two methods of changing the fundamental law 
were provided in the revised constitution of 1835 : first, the 
legislature could amend by endorsing the proposed amendment 
for two successive sessions. The measure must first pass both 
houses by a three-fifths majority of the total representation; 
then it must be published at least six months previous to the 
next General Assembly. The amendment must be endorsed by 
the representatives selected in this election with a two-thirds 
vote in both houses. A bill thus passed by two legislatures 
in succession must be finally ratified by the voters at the polls 
before it became a part of the constitution. 6 The second 

* The Constitution of 1776. Articles 1, 5, 6, and 7. 
5 Ibid. 

* Constitution of 1S35, Article 4. 

Manhood Suffeage in North Carolina 49 

method or amendment was by a constitutional convention. 
Such a convention could be called by a vote of two-thirds of 
the General Assembly, which also had the right to provide the 
method of apportionment of members. 7 Some claimed that the 
legislature had the power to limit the activity of such a con- 
vention to the consideration of. a few specified subjects; others 
did not admit this, claiming that a sovereign convention of the 
people could not be limited by legislative enactment. The 
constitution itself was silent concerning the power of limita- 
tion, and this was a much mooted question. 8 

The question of property qualification for suffrage was not 
brought up in the convention of 1835, but it arose soon after- 
wards. In 1842 a mass meeting held in Kinston protested 
against the free-hold requirement. As a consequence of this 
protest. Green \Y. Caldwell brought the matter before the 
legislature where it met with a cold reception. 10 The matter 
was not agitated again until 1848, when David S. Reid injected 
free suffrage into the governor's campaign of that year. 

Previous to the year 1848. the Whigs had controlled the 
political affairs of the state for about twelve years. The 
Democratic party was weak, and it was difficult to get a strong 
leader to run for governor, for defeat seemed certain. Manly, 
the Whig governor, had served one term and was running for 
re-election. He was a brilliant speaker, and had served suc- 
cessfully two years as governor. The chances against the 
Democratic candidate were overwhelming. David S. Reid was 
nominated as a forlorn hope by a unanimous vote of the 
Democratic convention, and was urged to accept in letters 
written by W. W. Holden and Robert P. Dick, both prominent 
leaders of the party. 11 A committee was also appointed to 
notify him of his nomination and to request his acceptance. 
He replied, declining the nomination. W. W. Holden, then 
editor of the Xorih Carolina Standard, was on the point of 
publishing Reid's refusal to accept the nomination, but John 

T ttid. 

* Legislative Documents of North Carolina — 1850-51, House of Commons, De- 
cember 18, 1850. 

* Bissett — Suffrage in North Carolina (American Historical Association, 1895-6, 
p 81.) 

» (foWflrt Register. June 22, IS42. 

MsS. Correspondence of Governor Reid; letters dated April 10 and April 
19, 1848. 

50 Historical Papers 

Julius Wheedon, an ardent Democratic partisan, persuade ■ 
Holden to wait a week before publishing Reid's letter of re- 
jection. 12 The editor consulted his friends, and it was deci'd< d 
to send a message to Colonel Reid, and to urge him in earnest 
terms to accept the nomination. He was asked to come ta 
Raleigh at once, prepared to enter on the campaign against 
Governor Manly. He was finally persuaded to accept the 
nomination. The platform on which Reid was nominated 
contained no allusion to manhood suffrage, but on accepting 
the nomination he said to some of his friends, ''Gentlemen, this 
nomination was not sought by me, and it has been my purpose 
for a long time if I should be a candidate for a state office 
before the people, to broach one issue, which I deem very im- 
portant. What I mean is that the state constitution shall be so 
amended that all voters for a member of the House of Com- 
mons shall be allowed to vote for Senators." 13 

Some of those present at this statement favored the idea 
but others opposed it. Colonel Reid decided for himself, and 
at Beau f on in the tirst joint discussion of the campaign he 
took ground in favor of manhood suffrage. Mr. Manly asked 
to be allowed one day to think over this issue, and at Newbern 
he stated that he was opposed to any changes in the qualifica- 
tions for voters. 14 Thus the introduction of this issue into the 
political arena of the state was the personal act of Colonel 
Reid, he not being supported by the platform of his party. The 
decision of the Whig candidate to oppose manhood suffrage 
had much to do with the later failure of his party in North 
Carolina. 15 

Throughout the campaign of 1848 Mr. Manly, the Whig 
nominee, maintained his position of opposition to the free suf- 
frage issue. He claimed that the qualifications should be kept 
as a protection to property, and that the abolition of the fifty- 
acre free-hold requirement would destroy the symmetry of 
the constitution by giving both houses of the legislature the 
same constituency. He designated free suffrage as political 
claptrap, and a hobby advocated by an office-hungry party. He 

B MSS. Correspondence of D. S. Reid: Holden to Reid. December 22nd, 1880. 
13 Memoirs of W. W. Holden (John L-r.vson Monographs, Vol. II), p. 5. 
11 Ibid. 
15 Ibid. 


attempted to show that it was only a half-remedy. He pointed 
to the property qualification for holding office and to the basis 
of representation, and asked the Democrats why they did not 
propose to change them also. He maintained that as long as 
representation was apportioned in the Senate according to 
taxation and in the House according to federal population, 
there could be no equality of the ballot. The county having 
the most property was given under the existing basis a larger 
representation than the larger, more populous, but poorer 
counties ; hence the few voters of a rich county had more 
power over the government than the many voters in a poor 
county. Manly claimed that any talk of equal suffrage was 
mere humbug as long as the basis remained unchanged. But 
the Whig candidate did not directly favor changes in the basis 
or property qualifications. He held that there was no demand 
for reform and that, if there was, it should be brought about 
by a non-partisan movement ; su<m a method of amendment he 
claimed would remove the constitution from the dirt and grime 
of party politics. 10 

In this campaign Mr. Manly was elected by a majority of 
864 votes, but the power of the manhood suffrage issue is 
shown by the fact that the Whig majority in the previous cam- 
paign had been 7,759. 1T . 

The campaign of 1848 was significant because it determin- 
ed the position of the two political parties on the issue of 
equal suffrage, and started a contest that ended in the com- 
plete triumph of the Democrats over the Whigs. Henceforth 
the Democrats stood clearly for the one issue of manhood 
suffrage by legislative enactment ; the Whigs were at first 
opposed to it, but upon realizing the great popularity of 
the issue with the voters, tried to hinder and complicate it 
with various side issues. The Whigs could not well admit the 
importance of an issue which they had at first opposed, calling 
it agrarianism, bunco, and a hobby ; nor could they continue 
to oppose it on account of its popularity with the voters. Such 
a critical position necessitated a dilly-dallying policy, which 
caused the ruin of the party. Henceforth the Democratic 

. u Raleigh Register, February 26, 1848; May 27, 1848; June 1, 1S48; July 
' M Memoirs of W. W. Holden, pp. 1-6. 


52 Historical Papers 

party carried the state by large majorities, bat was for so$ie 
time unsuccessful in its attempts to pass the free suffrage 

During the legislative session of 1848-9 a bill providing for 
equal suffrage was brought into the House of Commons by 
Mr. Sheek of Surry County. 18 It finally passed the House of 
Commons by a vote of 75 to 26, this being something over the 
constitutional majority of three-fifths. A bill introduced by 
Mr. Rayner, a Whig, to call a convention for the amendment 
of the constitution was rejected. 19 Such a proposition at this 
early stage of the fight for free-suffrage was significant be- 
cause certain opponents of free suffrage afterwards favored 
the convention method of amendment rather than the legisla- 
tive scheme. On January 23, 1849, the Sheek bill was rejected 
in the Senate, not having received the necessary three-fifths 
majority in that body.- The party alignment on this vote is 
interesting because it shows that both parties were divided on 
this issue in the Senate, which was pre-eminently the strong- 
hold of the land-holding interest, Senators being elected only 
by fifty-acre free-holders. Nineteen Democrats and six Whigs 
voted for the free suffrage bill; while thirteen Whigs and six 
Democrats voted against it.- 1 

In the campaign of 1850 the slogan o.f the Democrats was" 
"Equal suffrage, or the right of every white man in the state 
who pays his taxes to vote for members of both branches of 
the legislature." Reid was not at all anxious to make another 
trial for the governship and asked that his name be not pro- 
posed before the Democratic convention ; but party leaders, 
realizing the popularity of the author of free suffrage, obtained 
for him the unanimous choice of the convention. He was thus 
persuaded to make another campaign. 22 The Whigs nomi- 
nated Manly for re-election. The position of the two parties 
on the free suffrage issue was practically the same as in the 
previous campaign. The Democrats favored amendment by 
legislative action ; the Whigs either opposed, calling the move- 
ment a humbug, a hobby for office seekers, or agrarianism, or 

u North Carolina Standard, January 3, 1849. 
™ Ibid., January 17, 1849. 

20 Ibid., January 31, 1S49. 

21 Ibid. 

- Reid MSS. 5 Letter May 25, 1850. 

Manhood Suffrage in Xortii Carolina 53 

favored such dilatory measures as a convention or an election 
to determine the will of the people as to a convention or no 
convention. In this election Colonel Reid was chosen Governor 
by a vote of 45,080 to his opponent's 42,347. 23 

In his message to the legislature in November, 1850, Gov- 
ernor Manly said on the subject of amendment of the consti- 
tution : "It cannot be denied that a large, respectable, and in- 
telligent portion of this state are strongly inclined to alter the 
constitution." He said that whereas the movement first start- 
ed for only one change in the constitution so as to allow white 
freemen with or without freehold to vote for senators, it had 
expanded, and some reformers were demanding a change in 
the basis of representation in the Assembly, in the mode of 
electing state officers, and a revolution in the judiciary system. 
He urged that the legislature should first be convinced that the 
people desired a change and suggested that an election be held 
to find their will on the subject. He pointed out the two 
methods of constitutional amendment, and urged that whatever 
methods were used manhood suffrage alone be dealt with in 
order that it might not be hindered by other less desirable 
changes. 24 The attitude taken by Governor Manly shows 
how much the popularity of free suffrage had changed his po- 
sition. He merely wanted to be convinced that the people 
desired the change. He favors indirectly the convention method 
of amendment but is not uncompromising on this point. The 
Whigs followed their leader with respect to free suffrage, but 
rising discontent in the west with the basis of representation led 
the Whig party to come out strongly for a convention. 

This discontent in the west over the inequality of repre- 
sentation in the Senate was fast gaining headway. The con- 
stitution of 1835 had apportioned representation in the House 
of Commons according to federal population, obtained by 
counting all the white people and three-fifths of the negroes.- 5 
Representation in the Senate had been divided between the 
different sections according to the amount of taxes paid. The 
total amount of money collected by the state for taxes was 
divided by fifty, and the quotient thus obtained was made the 

f* S'crtk Carolina Standard, December 7, 1850. 

J* ibid., November 23, 1850; Raleigh Reaister, November 23, 1850. 
Revised Constitution of 1835. Article I, section 1. 

54 Historical Papers 

determinant of a senatorial district. Several counties paying 
in the aggregate the required one-fiftieth of the state tv 
were grouped into one district and allowed to elect one sena- 
tor. 26 In some cases it happened that one small but wealthy 
county had the right to elect a senator, while three or four 
large and populous counties would be grouped into one district 
and have the right to only one senator. 27 There was little 
objection in the west to the apportionment in the Commons 
according to federal number, even though this method did 
favor the east where there was a greater number of slaves than 
in the west. The taxation basis in the Senate, however, was 
disadvantageous to the west because this section was poor and 
paid little in taxes. The inequality is shown by the fact that 
in 1851 one district in the west contained thirty thousand white 
inhabitants and was allowed only one senator, while an eastern 
district with 4,400 white inhabitants had the same representa- 
tion in the Senate. 2S The question of constitutional reform be- 
ing discussed, the west considered it a good time to try to get 
rid of the unjust taxation basis in the Senate and to substitute 
apportionment of members according to white population. The 
white basis, as this scheme was called, would give to the west 
a majority in the Senate and enable this section to carry out 
the progressive policy of internal improvement which it fa- 
vored. The politicians of this section realized that free suf- 
rage was a popular issue and that there was a possibility of 
calling a convention to consider it. In the convention thus 
called they hoped to amend the constitution so as to obtain the 
white basis in the Senate. Most of this movement for a 
convention to change the basis came from the Whigs of 
the west, and the western men of both parties in the leg- 
islature of 1S50-51 were opposed to manhood suffrage by 
legislative action, and in favor of a convention to revise the 
constitution. The western politicians called their movement 
for the white basis of representation "Equal suffrage," while 
naming the movement for extension of the franchise "Free 
suffrage. " 20 

-''Constitution of 1835. Article I, section 1. 

- 7 Speech by David Caldwell (the Constitution of North Carolina, pamphlet 
of 1851). 
28 Ibid. 
* Ibid., p. 40. 

Manhood Suffrage in North Carolina do 

The east favored manhood suffrage, altho there was some 
opposition from the Whigs of that section. All of the east, 
however, was firm in its opposition to any changes in the basis 
of representation because the existing basis — taxation in the 
Senate and federal population in the House — was favorable in 
every respect to the east. This section of the state paid more 
taxes because of its great wealth in slaves and lands ; hence it 
had a majority in the Senate despite the fact that it was in- 
ferior to the west in respect to white population. In the House 
of Commons the east was favored by the existing basis because 
of its great number of slaves. Three-fifths of these were 
counted in apportioning representation in the lower house. So 
the east had the political power in its hand, and was anxious 
to keep it because it was argued that if the west were allowed 
the majority in the legislature the property of the east would 
be taxed to carry out the internal improvement policy so much 
desired in the west. Hence, the east believed that the existing 
basis gave only a fair representation to property. It was 
strongly opposed to any convention that would change the 
existing compromises of the constitution and place the political 
power in the hands of the west. So sectionalism complicated the 
issue of free suffrage and long prevented its passage. The 
pro-conventionist felt that if manhood suffrage was granted 
by the legislature there would be no more hope of obtaining 
a convention to change the basis. In the legislature of 1850-51, 
the Whigs of the west and some Democrats from that section 
voted against the free suffrage bill and in favor of a constitu- 
tional convention. 30 Several of the western Democrats voted 
in favor of amendments to the free suffrage bill providing for 
a convention, but on the final reading registered their votes for 
free suffrage when they saw that there was no chances to get 
a convention. 

The Democratic party as a whole quickly opposed the pro- 
posal of the westerners to make a change in the basis. In his 
inaugural address of 1851 Governor Reid declared that a 
large majority of the people favored free suffrage and that 
it should be given to them by legislative enactment. He op- 
posed any change in the method of apportioning representa- 

Cunstitution of North Carolina (pamphlet), pp. 56, 59, 61, 63, 64. 

56 HnsTOEJCAL Papers 

tioiL At this time the Democratic party of the South con- 
sidered itself the peculiar protector of the institution of slavery 
and of southern rights. It was, therefore, fitting that Demo- 
crats should stand against any attempt to abolish the repre- 
sentation allowed by the federal basis to slaves in the House 
of Commons. Governor Reid held that -slaves should be 
represented as persons as well as property and that any agi- 
tation of the slave question within the State was inexpedient 
at a time when the North was active in its attacks on southern 
institutions. Thus the Democratic party, because of its na- 
tional policy of radical protection of slavery, was able to assume 
a firm attitude of opposition to a change of the basis or a con- 
vention that might change it. The party favored manhood 
suffrage by legislative enactment alone. 

The Whig party, for several reasons, was not able to take 
as definite a stand on these questions as was the Democratic. 
In the first place, the national Whig party was conservative in 
its attitude toward slavery and southern rights. The willing- 
ness of southern Whigs to compromise with the North on the 
question of slavery extension laid them open to a charge of 
unsoundness by the Democrats. Hence it was necessary that 
the Whig party in North Carolina, if it was to keep the confi- 
dence of the slave-holders, should declare positively its opposi- 
tion to any change of the basis that would lessen the control of 
slave owners over the state government. But the composition of 
the W nig party in the state prevented it from assuming such a 
positive attitude. Unlike the Whig party in the lower south, 
the Whig strength in North Carolina was mainly in the western 
counties. 31 Here there lived the small farmer who owned few 
if any slaves and little land. This very important element of 
the Whig party naturally favored a white basis of representa- 
tion. The Whig party of the state, then, was in a dilemma. 
If it favored the white basis it would lose the support of the 
eastern slave-holding wing; if it did not favor a change in the 
basis there was danger of a revolt of the western small land- 
holders. In such a quandary the Whigs compromised by favor- 
ing a convention to amend the constitution, neither favor- 

n See Cole, Whig Party in the South; also Wagstaff, State Rights and Po- 
litical Parties in North Carolina. 

Manhood Suffrage in Inortii Carolina 57 

ing nor opposing directly a change in basis. Like all com- 
promises this one was unsatisfactory to both sides and lost sup- 
port for the Whigs. However, the party devised a strong 
argument in favor of amendment by convention. It held that 
free suffrage by legislative enactment had been brought forth 
as a hobby by a party of office seekers; that the Democrats 
were not as anxious to establish free suffrage as they were to 
gain political power; as soon as free suffrage was granted by 
the legislature the Democrats would, for party purposes, use 
some such needed reform as the abolition of the office holding 
qualification or the election of Justices of the Peace by the peo- 
ple as a hobby on which to ride again into office. "Why not 
raise the constitution above partisan politics?" asked the Whigs. 
"Why not call a non-partisan convention that would grant all 
needed reforms, preserve the symmetry of the constitution, 
and prevent office-hungry politicians from riding into office on 
constitutional hobbies ?" 32 

The entrance of the sectional issue into the question of free 
suffrage helped the Democratic party and injured the Whigs. 
The former party was able to hold its eastern strength through 
opposition to change of the basis and to conciliate its western 
members by offering them free suffrage by legislative enact- 
ment. The Whigs, being forced to assume an ambiguous, de- 
fensive attitude, lost the support of both sections to some ex- 
tent. The advantageous position chosen by the Democrats, 
and the disadvantageous one forced upon the Whigs by the 
sectional issue, determined the future history of political parties 
in the state ; henceforth the Democrats waxed stronger, and 
the Whigs became weaker. 

It was soon evident that the majority of the members of 
the legislature of 1850-51 was in favor of abolishing the free- 
hold requirement for voting for a senator, but there was dis- 
agreement as to the method of accomplishing this desired end. 
There was some movement to place the issue above party 
lines, but the Democrats had a good thing and knew how to 
push it ; besides, where party lines were broken sectionalism 
came into play. In the House of Commons, the committee on 
amendments to the constitution consisted of McClean, Ruffin, 

Raleigh Register, January 2, 1S50; February 1, 1851; March 15, 1851. 

58 Historical Papers 

Stevenson, Foster of Davidson, and Blow. It represented both 
parties, ail members except Foster were in favor of amend- 
ment by legislative action." 3 All bills introduced in the House 
on the subject of constitutional reform were referred to this 
committee. The first bill introduced was by R. G. A. Love, of 
Haywood. It provided for the holding of an election for the 
selection of delegates to an unlimited convention. Fleming, 
of Yancey, brought in a resolution instructing the committee to 
inquire as to the advisability of holding a preliminary election 
to see if the people favored a change in the constitution and 
report by bill or otherwise. This resolution was adopted after 
considerable debate, in which most of the speakers urged that 
the matter of constitutional change be placed above party 
lines. 34 Early in December Fleming of Yancey introduced a 
bill to submit to the people the question of convention or no 
convention. A lengthy discussion ensued as to whether or 
not this bill should be referred to the committee. Some mem- 
bers were suspicious of the fairness of the committee on con- 
stitutional amendment, because it was known that the majority 
of it was in favor of amendment by the legislature. The bill 
was finally referred to the committee. The Love bill, 
which had been tabled, was also referred to the committee 
after considerable debate. 35 

In all, three different propositions were submitted to the 
committee : one was to amend the constitution by action of the 
legislature ; another, to hold an election to ascertain whether 
or not the people desired a convention ; the third was to call a 
convention if approved by a two-thirds vote of the legislature. 
A report was made favoring manhood suffrage by legislative 
enactment, and a bill providing for this was introduced by the 
committee in its majority report. Mr. Foster made a minority 
report setting forth various reasons for calling a convention. 
Among these were: first, the people of North Carolina had 
never had opportunity to frame their own constitution ; second, 
all political power is in the hands of the people ; third, a thor- 
ough revisal in respects other than suffrage was desirable. 36 

Soon after having submitted this report, Mr. Foster made 

33 North Carolina Standard, November 27, 1850. 

34 Ibid., November 23, 1850. 

35 Ibid., December 7, 1850. 

34 Constitution of North Carolina (pamphlet), 1851, pp. 47, 48. 

Manhood Suffrage ix Xoeth Carolina 50 

a speech before the House in favor of holding an election to 
find whether or not "the people desired a convention. He 
argued that the people had never been permitted to live under 
a constitution of their own making and would never be sat- 
isfied until they were allowed to do so. He also claimed, 
strange to say. that amendment by convention was cheaper 
than by legislative means. 37 He said that he had concluded 
that the people desired a change and that he favored a conven- 
tion to bring it about. He proposed a bill submitting the ques- 
tion of convention or no convention to the people and by such 
an election wished to remove the doubts of some as to the desire 
of the people for constitutional re form. He was answered by Mr. 
Avery of Burke, a Democrat, who spoke in favor of amend- 
ment by legislative enactment. Mr. Walton, Air. Avery's Whig 
colleague, favored a convention which would bring about a 
change in the basis of representation. He thus unintentionally 
revealed the desire of a large number of the Whigs to use the 
free suffrage movement as a means of obtaining a convention 
in which they hoped to change the basis. On December 23 
Mr. Caldwell, of Guilford, made an eloquent speech setting 
forth the position of the western Whigs. He pointed out the 
existing unfairness in representation between the sections, 
showed the injustice of apportionment based on taxation, and 
favored an unlimited convention. He argued that free suf- 
frage would be a humbug if the basis of representation was 
not changed and urged that the convention be called to make 
this and other changes in the constitution. He ended by de- 
nouncing the manhood suffrage movement as a hobby used 
by adroit politicians as a method of obtaining office. 3S 

Discussion in the House of Commons continued on into 
1851. Air. Saunders of Wake further complicated the discus- 
sion by favoring a change in the basis for the Senate, but he 
proposed the federal population basis of representation, i. e., 
apportionment of Senators according to population arrived at 
by counting all white people and three-fifths of all the negroes. 
This, of course, would have been somewhat favorable to the 
east where slaves were more plentiful than in the west. 39 

" ' forth Carolina Standard, December 13, 1850, and Raleigh Register, De- 
'-- ■'■:•!- 15. 1850. 

^ Speech of David Caldwell (pamphlet). 
?>orili Carolina Standard, January 11, 1851. 

60 Historical Papeks 

The regular committee bill embodying the Democratic idea 
or amendment by legislative enactment came up for vote in the 
House on December 31, and many attempts were made 
to incorporate amendments embodying the ideas pointed out 
above. The vote on these amendments was always for rejec- 
tion and very nearly according to party lines, three Democrats 
and five Whigs voting different from the main body of their 
party. The bill was finally passed on the second reading by a 
vote of 89 to 24, many Whigs voting with the Democrats for 
the bill. 40 The measure came up for its third reading early in 
the new year, and its opponents tried again to put through 
amendments but again failed. The bill was rejected on this 
reading by a vote of 69 to 41, this being four less than the re- 
quired constitutional majority of three-fifths. A reconsidera- 
tion was moved, and there was much discussion as to whether 
it would require a three-fifths or a majority vote to reconsider. 
Sixty voted for reconsideration, and the chair held that this 
was sufficient. 41 On January 14, 1851, the bill, being recon- 
sidered, passed its third reading by a vote of 75 to 36, the con- 
stitutional year being 72. 42 At this time an amendment 
proposed by Erwin to give a white basis of representation in 
the Senate was defeated by an overwhelming vote. It is evi- 
dent that many Whigs desired free suffrage and voted for it 
when they saw that there was no hope of obtaining a con- 

The bill which had passed the House was sent up to the 
Senate where there had already been some preliminary dis- 
cussion. Here Woodfin, of Buncombe county, was leader of 
the westerners who were in favor of an open convention and 
the white basis. The amendments setting forth various ideas 
— such as other constitutional changes, unlimited convention, 
change of basis, and election for ascertaining the will of the 
people — were proposed and rejected by close majorities. The 
advocates of manhood suffrage were determined to incorporate 
in the perfected measure the one issue : a free suffrage amend- 
ment by legislative enactment. The bill was rejected on its 

40 Constitution of North Carolina (pamphlet), pp. 64-67. 

41 North Carolina Standard, January 15, 1351. 

42 Ibid., January 18, 1851. 

Manhood Suffrage m North Carolina 61 

first reading by the vote of 29 pro and 20 con, the majority not 
being the required three-fifths. On January 22 a motion to 
reconsider was carried, and an amendment to the bill abolish- 
ing the property qualification of a Senator was rejected by a 
large majority. The bill was then passed by a vote of 32 to 16 
on its second reading.* 3 The passage of the bill was made pos- 
sible because several members of the Senate from the east, 
realizing that western Whigs were voting against manhood 
suffrage so as to save the issue as a reason for calling a con- 
vention, decided to accept the lesser of what they considered 
two evils and changed their votes in favor of the free suffrage 
amendment. 42 In this the eastern senators were also influ- 
enced by a sharp political move on the part of the Democrats 
of the House. A bill calling a convention was taken up by the 
Democrats in the House and rushed through two readings. 
They figured correctly that this would frighten the members 
of the Senate into passing the free suffrage amendment. The 
Senate was controlled by land-holders and slave-holders ; hence 
its . members opposed a convention for fear that it would 
change the basis. 43 On the 23rd of January the free suffrage 
amendment bill came up on its third reading in the Senate. 
Mr. Joyner spoke in opposition several hours, he being one of 
the few men who dared to oppose any and every form of free 
suffrage. He made a typical land-owner's speech. An amend- 
ment providing that the bill should not be construed so as to 
allow free negroes to vote passed unanimously. The bill then 
passed its third reading by a vote of 33 to 16. The House 
quickly agreed to amendments, and the bill was ordered to 
be engrossed. 44 

The manhood suffrage bill passed by the constitutional ma- 
jority of three-fifths of both houses in the legislature of 
1850-51 read in part as follows: "Be it enacted by the Gen- 
eral Assembly of the State of North Carolina . . . three- 
fifths of the whole number of members of each house concur- 
ring, that the third section of the first article of the . . . 
constitution ... be amended by striking out the words, 

„%°rtk Carolina Standard, January 23, 1851. 

n'iC T' gtx Re 'ji st e r , January 23, 1851. 
I 'id. 

"Xortk Carolina Standard, January 25, 1851. 

— — M— — I 

62 Historical Papers 

'and possessed of a free-hold within the same district of fifty 
acres of land for six months next before and at the day of the 
election,' so that said clause shall read as follows: 'Section 2, 
all free white men of the age of twenty-one years . . . 
who have been inhabitants of any one district within the state 
for twelve months preceding the day of any election and shall 
have paid a public tax, shall be entitled to vote for a member 
of the Senate.' " 43 

The opposition which had to be overcome in order to pass 
this bill for the first time was composed mainly of western 
Whigs. As has been pointed out. members from this section 
desired a convention mainly for the purpose of changing the 
basis. They felt that it was an injustice that the east, with a 
minority of the white inhabitants of the state, should have 35 
senators; while the west, with a majority of white population, 
had only 15. This was due to the apportioning of representa- 
tion in the Senate according to taxes paid. Before the amend- 
ment could be incorporated in the constitution it would have to 
be passed by a two-thirds vote of the next legislature. In the 
interval between these two legislatures those favoring the con- 
vention method of amendment began a campaign to undo the 
progress already accomplished and to arouse public sentiment 
for a convention. 

The immediate cause of the discontent in the west with the 
basis is found in the opposition of the legislature of 1850-1851 
to internal improvements. The west was an undeveloped 
section, and its inhabitants favored the building of railroads 
and other measures that would increase the commercial im- 
portance of the section. The east had to pay most of the taxes 
and did not especially desire the improvement of the west. 
The east did not care to spend its tax money in building up 
the other section of the state. Previous to 1850 the North 
Carolina Railroad, connecting the east and the west, had been 
chartered. In the legislature of 1850-1851 resolutions had 
been offered to repeal the charter of this railroad and to repu- 
diate the subscription which the state had made to its capital 
stock. Also a bill was introduced providing that no appro- 
priation over $100,000 could be made without the concurrent 

■ Ibid. 

Manhood Suffbage ix Nobth Carolina 63 

majorities of the legislature in two consecutive sessions. 40. 
Neither one of these proposals were adopted, but they angered 
the western representatives. They realized that they must have 
more power in the government in order to force through their 
policy of internal improvements. In order to get this power 
they favored a change of the basis, and looked to a convention 
to bring about such a change. 

Just after the legislature of 1850-51 adjourned., "a meeting 
composed principally of western members of the legislature, 
without distinction of party" was held in Raleigh. An Ad- 
dress To The People Of Xorth Carolina On The Subject Of 
Constitutional Reform was drawn up at this meeting. This 
document pointed out that all the free people of the state had 
never had a voice in organizing its government ; that the con- 
stitution of 1776 had been drawn up by a body composed of 
the large land-holders, and containing far more eastern than 
western representatives ; that the convention of 1835 was 
limited by legislative action, and that the constitutional amend- 
ments drawn up by this convention were undemocratic in 
respect to the taxation basis in the Senate and in continuing the 
limitation of the senatorial electorate to those having a free- 
hold of fifty acres. This address objected strenuously to the un- 
fairness in representation .of the different sections and asked 
that it be abolished. It pointed out that there were other con- 
stitutional changes desired, such as the election of judges by 
the people and claimed "that the only proper republican mode 
of amending or altering the constitution is by the people them- 
selves in convention assembled." It traced the history of the 
amendment recently passed and charged that it was secured by 
means of log-rolling and claimed that the western politicians 
had opposed it because the issue was squarely one of free suf- 
frage alone, or a convention with hopes of other desired 
changes. The address closed by pointing out the advantages 
of the convention method over the legislative method of 
amendment. 47 

This address, which was the shibboleth of the opposition. 
was signed by about forty politicians., most of whom were 

Raleigh Register, April 30, 1851. 
Constituiton of Xorth Carolina (pam 

(pamphlet), 1351. 

64 ' Historical Papers 

Whigs from the west. This meeting held in Raleigh was the 
beginning of a movement among the westerners to break away 
from the old parties, both Whig and Democratic, and to put 
out fusion candidates in the west who would work for a con- r 
stitutional convention. The meeting of politicians at Raleigh 
was followed by assemblies of the people in the western 
counties. On February 18, 1851, a large and enthusiastic 
meeting was held in Watauga County. Resolutions were adopt- 
ed declaring that whereas the people had previously expressed 
a desire that the constitution be amended so as to give a white 
population basis of representation, and nothing had been done. 
that there ought to be an unrestricted convention, the dele- 
gates to which should be elected on a white basis ; that said 
convention ought to change the constitution so as to grant 
popular election of judges, the w T hite basis, free suffrage, and 
abolition of the property qualifications for holding office. 48 
In a meeting in Buncombe a definite plan for a new political 
organization was formulated. The new party styled itself 
The Republican Party of North Carolina, and adopted the 
will of the people as its motto. The Buncombe meeting pledged 
itself to nominate a candidate for governor without regard to 
former party affiliation, and to oppose the taxation basis in the 
Senate. A similar meeting in Henderson pledged itself to 
vote for no man who did not favor an unrestricted conven- 
tion. 49 Meetings were held in Burke, Caldwell, McDowell, 
Rutherford, and Cleveland counties to gain support for the 
new movement. 50 The W nigs of the east, in reply to the new 
party movement, declared to their leaders that they would 
not adopt a pledge to vote for candidates who favored a white 
basis, nor would they support any man who favored an unre- 
stricted convention, 51 Those who wished to compromise 
argued that there was no hope of obtaining an unrestricted 
convention, because to call such a body a two-thirds vote of 
the legislature was required, and that the legislature was con- 
trolled by the east ; also that a new party would not test the 
strength of the white basis issue, because other considerations 

** Raleigh Reaister. February 22, 1851. 

* North Carolina Standard, April 19, 1851; Raleigh Register, April 30, 1851. 
M Raleigh Register, May 7, 1851; North Carolina Standard, May 7, 1851. 
^Ibid., May 3, 1851. 

Manhood Suffrage in Xortii Carolina (jo 

would determine many votes. 52 The Democrats of the west, 
as a rule, stuck to their party and left the new movement to 
the Whigs; for instance, the Democrats of Buncombe held a 
meeting and declared for Reid, Democracy and free suffrage 
and did not mention the question of a convention. 53 Thus it 
came about that in the campaign of 1852 Democrats were 
united on the single issue of manhood suffrage by legislative 
enactment, while the Whigs were divided, those of the West 
favoring manhood suffrage and other constitutional amend- 
ments by means of an unlimited convention, and the conserva- 
tives of the east either opposing any constitutional changes or 
desiring merely manhood suffrage either by legislative enact- 
ment or limited convention. 

The Whigs held their state convention on x\pril 26, 1852. 
There were conflicting opinions as to constitutional reform, but 
leaders on both sides showed a willingness to compromise. 
Mr, John Kerr was nominated as candidate for governor. 
The adopting of a platform was difficult, but the Whigs tried 
to take a position on constitutional reform which would harm- 
onize their contending factions. Section seven, on this sub- 
ject, read: "Resolved, that in the opinion of this convention 
whenever amendments are to be made to our state constitution, 
they should be effected by a convention of the people elected 
on the basis of the House of Commons, and we are in favor of 
submitting it to the people to say whether such a convention 
shall be called or not for the purpose of making necessary 
amendments.'' 54 It is easy to note the elements in this plat- 
form which were the result of a compromise. The Whigs 
could not favor an unlimited convention for fear of estrang- 
ing the eastern conservatives ; nor could the party repudiate 
the convention method for fear of angering the west. So the 
platform did not clearly advocate a convention, but merely 
favored submitting the question to the people ; in return for 
this concession from the west, it was decided to favor this sec- 
tion by apportioning the representation in any convention call- 
ed according to federal population. Since three-fifths of all 

'' 2 Tbid., April 30, 1851. 
*Il>id. t April 17, 1851. 
"Ibid., April 28, 1852; North Carolina Standard, May 5, 1852. 

66 Historical Papers 

the slaves were counted in federal population, this was a con- 
cession to the slave-holding east."' 5 

The Democratic platform of 1852 contained two articles on 
the subject of manhood suffrage. Article seven declared that 
the constitution of the state having provided for amendment' bv 
legislative action and three-fifths of both houses of the last 
General Assembly having voted for free suffrage, the Demo- 
cratic party was in favoring of reaffirming it by the required 
two-thirds majority in the next assembly. The eighth article 
of the platform declared against a change of the basis of rep- 
resentation in either the House or the Senate. The Democrats 
nominated Governor Reid to succeed himself as chief ex- 
ecutive. 50 

It was a very uneven fight which was waged in the canvass 
of 1852. The Democrats were firm in their two most import- 
ant issues, namely : manhood suffrage by legislative enactment 
and opposition to a change of basis. The Whigs were divided on 
the question of the basis, and part of them supported the con- 
vention scheme merely for the sake of party unity and of oppo- 
sition to the Democrats. Thus it was that Reid, the Demo- 
cratic candidate for governor, could come out squarely for 
manhood suffrage all over the state. Kerr, the Whig nominee, 
tried to relegate the manhood suffrage question to the back- 
ground, stating that it was a harmless, sort of an issue and 
claiming that the constituion was good enough in its existing 
condition. He emphasized his convention issue according to 
the part of the country he was speaking in. The Democrats 
claimed that during the campaign in the east he touched lightly 
on the convention issue, but in the west he favored a free, 
open, unrestricted convention which would change the basis 
of representation in the Senate. Although Kerr denied that he 
changed his attitude on the basis and claimed that he and Reid 
occupied the same position on this question, it is probable that 
he modified his statement according to the sections in which he 
was speaking. 57 Kerr took the position that if the majority of 
the people desired that a convention be called that it was the 

• Weekly North Carolina Standard, May 19, 1852; Raleigh Reaisier, May 
19, 1852. 
36 Ibid. 
"Raleigh Register, June 5-8, 1852; North Carolina Standard, June 5-8, 1852. 

Majsthood Suffrage ix Xoeth Carolina 67 

duty of the governor to issue the call for the convention, de- 
spite the constitutional provision that a two-thirds vote of the 
legislature was necessary. He was severely criticised by the 
Democrats for this stand. 58 

The election of 1852 shows that there was a clear split in 
the Whig party over the convention issue. In the western 
counties fusion candidates were chosen in several instances, 
and these were pledged to vote for open convention. Reid 
obtained his largest gain in the western counties, however, and 
this shows that the Democrats as a rule stayed by the party. 
Reid was elected by the safe majority of 5,500, and the Demo- 
crats obtained a large majority of the representatives in the 
General Assembly. 59 It seemed that it was practically certain 
that the manhood suffrage amendment would receive the two- 
thirds majority necessary to make it a part of the constitution. 
Governor Reid, in his annual message to the legislature, stated 
that the equal suffrage bill had been passed by three-fifths of 
the last legislature and urged that the necessary two-thirds 
majority be given in the assembly of 1852-3. He stated his 
objections to a convention, and opposed all changes in the 
basis and all agitation concerning such changes. 60 

Despite the favorable outlook for the free suffrage amend- 
ment, opposition quickly developed in the assembly of 1852. It 
seems that, by accident, the opponents of the manhood suf- 
frage amendment had a majority of the committee on constitu- 
tional reform in the House of Commons. This committee re- 
ported against the equal suffrage amendment, but a minority 
report of the same committee submitted a set of preambles and 
resolutions, tracing the history of the bill from its conception 
and providing for the submitting of the proposition to the 
electorate after it had received the constitutional two-thirds 
majority. 61 On Tuesday November 23, 1852, this minority 
report passed the House of Commons on the third reading 
without debate, two-thirds of the whole membership voting for 
it. Opposition in the Senate came entirely from the Whigs, 
while every Democrat who voted and a few Whigs supported 

W- eekly North Carolina Standard, June 2, August 4, 1S52. 
;,'-'., August 18, 1852. 

Weekly Sorth Carolina Standard, August 20, 1852. 
ibid., November 20, 1852. 

■ wt— i — — I M| 

68 Historical Papers 

the measure. The bill was defeated the first time it came •:• 
because many Whigs refused to vote either for or against i: - 
A reconsideration was moved, and a vote was taken on I 
cember 13. The bill was defeated by a vote of 33 for, to 15' 
against it. Since the total representation in the Senate was 
fifty, a two-thirds vote would have required 33 1-3 votes in 
favor of the amendment. W. N. Edwards, of Warre 
Speaker of the Senate and a Democrat, had the privileg . 
of voting, but refused to cast his ballot either for or against 
the measure — on the ground that, even though a Democrat, he 
had always opposed equal suffrage and had been elected to his 
position as a compromise candidate because of his known op- 
position to the amendment. Thus it was that manhood suffrage 
was delayed for another two years for the lack of one-third of 
a vote. The odium of the defeat of this measure rested upon 
the Whigs because all Democrats voted for the bill, except 
Edwards who voted neither way: while only six Whigs vote: 
for the amendment and fifteen against it. 63 

After the failure of the equal suffrage measure in the Sen- 
ate, Messrs. Hill and Berry, originators of the bill in the Com- 
mons, attempted to have the amendment reconsidered, in hopes 
of getting at least a three-fifths majority. This was necessary 
because the constitution provided that an amendment had to 
pass by three-fifths and two-thirds vote in two successive 
assemblies. The Commoners had, however, lost confidence in 
the legislative method of amendment and refused to pass the 
bill by three-fifths majority, although they had recently passe! 
it by a two-thirds vote. The count stood 64 pro and 34 con, 
whereas 72 would have been necessary to pass. 04 Thus the 
work of two years' legislative discussion and action was lost, 
and the manhood suffrage amendment had to start again a: 
the place it had been in 1850. 

The manhood suffrage issue came up again in the campaign 
of 1854. By this time the western Whigs had almost given up 
hope of getting a convention to change the basis in the Senate. 
Also the east and west had agreed on the matter of internal im- 
provements, and the grievance which had led the west to favor 

* 2 Ibid., December 8, 1852, 
83 Ibid., December 11, 1S52. 
M Ibid., December 15, 1852. 

Manhood Suffrage in Xoetii Carolina 69 

a change in the basis had been removed. 05 Even after this 
obstacle to amendment by legislative action had been partly 
removed, the Whigs could not bring themselves openly to fa- 
vor manhood suffrage by legislative enactment. The issue had 
been originated by the Democrats, and this alone was enough 
to condemn it in the eyes of the Whigs; so we rind the plat- 
form of this party in 1854 declaring that the people desired 
certain changes in the constitution and favoring that these 
changes be made in a convention having the power to change 
any part of the constitution except the basis of representation. 
No mention was made of free suffrage, as such, in the plat- 
form. Alfred Dockery was the Whig nominee for governor. 00 

The position taken by the Whig party in advocating a con- 
vention which could not change the basis aroused in the west- 
ern wing of the party some opposition. In this section the 
desire for the white basis was not entirely dead. There was a 
movement to repudiate the article of the Whig platform which 
dealt with limiting the convention, and this movement culmi- 
nated in a meeting held at Asheville in April, 1854. Delegates 
from some of the western counties met, and resolved that the 
state legislature could not restrict a sovereign convention, and 
.hat any convention called must have the power to change any 
feature of the constitution. ,iT This dissatisfaction in the west 
crippled the Whig party at the very beginning of the cam- 

The Democrats, in 1854, nominated Thomas Bragg for 
governor and adopted a platform favoring free suffrage by 
legislative enactment and opposing any change in the basis. 08 
In the canvass the two candidates took almost the same po- 
sition on the free suffrage issue. Both opposed a change in 
the basis of representation, and both favored manhood suf- 
frage. They differed in the manner of bringing about the neces- 
sary constitutional change. Dockery favored the convention 
method, and Bragg advocated. the legislative enactment scheme. 
Bragg argued that a convention must be sovereign, and there- 
fore, it could change the basis. He emphasized the danger of 

Raleigh Register, April 30, 1856. 

north Carolina Standard, March 1, 1S54; Raleigh Register, February 25, 

yortk Carolina Standard, April 19, 1854. 

ibid., April 11, 1354; Raleigh Register, June 3, 1854. 

70 Historical Papers 

calling any convention, claiming that the west would surel 
change the basis. He also called attention to the fact I 
there was no constitutional requirement that would make • 
convention submit its work to the people; whereas the legis- 
lature was forced to submit an amendment to the electorate 
before it could become a part of the constitution. Docker) 
maintained that his method was more democratic and eco- 
nomical, would give a much needed general revision to th 
constitution, raise that document above party politics, and pre- 
vent politicians from riding into office on questions of consti- 
tutional reform. 69 In this canvass the Democratic candidate- 
was successful by a safe majority, and the Democrats returned 
a majority of the members of the Assembly. 

When the legislature of 1854 convened, Reid was still 
governor, and he continued to work for manhood suffrage. 
In his message of that year he again strongly recommended 
the amendment. He pointed out that fifty thousand men were 
being deprived of the privilege of voting for members of the 
Senate, and that a large number of those deprived of this 
franchise possessed land of greater value than the required 
■fifty acres at an average price. In the Senate of 1854 the old 
proposition of holding an election to ascertain whether or not 
the people wanted a convention was introduced by ex-Gov- 
ernor Graham, and there was some discussion of the matter. 70 
Messrs. Graham, Gilmer, and Haughton supported the elec- 
tion proposal, while Hoke and Thomas spoke in favor of the 
legislative method. The debate was important because it was 
a serious question in the minds of some of the senators as to 
whether it would be better to keep up the light for amendment 
by legislative enactment, which had failed for six years 
straight, or to yield to the persistent Whig demand for a con- 
vention. 71 

Early in 1855 Bragg went into office, and in his inaugural 
address he urged that the suffrage amendment be passed by 
the three-fifths majority. Boyd had already introduced in the 
Senate a bill very similar to the one which had been proposed 
in 1850-1. The proposition was discussed freely, and some of 

69 Ibid., July 15, 1854; Raleigh Register, Tune 3, 1854. 

n Raleigh Register, November 15, 1854. 

71 North Carolina Standard, December 18, 1854. 

Manhood Suffrage ix Xorth Caeolixa 71 

the opponents of the legislative enactment claimed that the 
measure as proposed would allow unnaturalized foreigners to 
vote. This tear of the immigrant element in politics was a re- 
sult of the Know Nothing movement, which was at this time 
coming into prominence in national politics. The doctrine of 
the new party was summarized in the words "America for 
Americans/'' and it desired a restriction of immigration. Mr. 
Haughton proposed an amendment which would remedy this 
objection, and it was adopted by a close vote. The Democrats 
seemed to have adopted this amendment to the bill, not be- 
cause they deemed it necessary, but rather to quiet the 
criticism of the opposition. Other amendments were voted 
down, and the bill passed its final reading by a vote of 35 to 
15, this being five more than the required three-fifths ma- 
jority. 72 

This free suffrage bill which had passed the Senate was 
taken up in the House toward the end of January. On its 
first reading the amendment passed by a vote of 89 to 18. The 
position of the Whigs is very well shown by this vote. There 
were 29 Whigs in the House, and 18 of these made up the 
entire opposition. Most of these Whigs voted against man- 
hood suffrage merely because they did not like the manner in 
which it was being given to them, or at least this was their 
pretended reason. Some members of the House did not think 
that the Senate had completely settled the question of unnat- 
uralized foreigners voting ; and Mr. Mebane offered an amend- 
ment to the constitutional amendment stating: "Nothing here- 
in shall be construed to allow unnaturalized foreigners to 
vote." The majority thought that there was no danger of 
foreigners voting under the law as it stood, and the Mebane 
amendment was rejected. 73 The bill passed its other readings in 
the House by a large majority and was ordered to be enrolled 
on February 1. The policy of the Democrats of the House of 
Commons was to allow the Whigs to do all the speaking and 
to propose all the amendments, while the Democrats kept quiet 
and voted down amendments systematically. The Whigs em- 
bodied their idea in the form of amendment to the original 

Weekly Horth Carolina Standard, January 31, 
,l ibid., January 31, 1855. 


72 Historical Papers 

v ' 11 T ^ : - proj Bition invention of the people. 

The original Whig proposal was amended so as to prevent 
convention called from cl ; tg the basis, and so as to m 
a two-thirds vote of each house 'necessary for its enactment. 
This proposition of the V.'\ : .^~ was defeated by a party vote. 74 

The act as passed bj the Legislature of 1S55 stated that 
many voters were disfranchised by we free-hold qualification 
and amen:-; the third section of the first article of the con- 
stitution so as to read: "Every white man of the age of twen- 
ty-one years, bring a native or naturalized citizen of the United 
States and who has been an inhabitant of the state for twelve 
months immediately preceding the day of any election and 
shall have paid public taxes, shall be entitled to vote for a 
member of the Senate for the district in which he resides." 
A second section of the bill required the Governor to publish 
the measure in ten papers of the state six months before the 
next election. Before the bill could become a part of the consti- 
tution it had to be oassed by two-thirds of the next legislature, 
and finally ratified by the people in a special election. 73 As 
required by the constitution, the proposed free suffrage amend- 
ment was published six months before the election of 1856, 
and this question was again an issue in the campaign of that, 

Since 1850 the Whig party in national affairs, as well as in 
North Carolina, had been becoming steadily weaker. The po- 
sition of the party on the compromise of 1850 had practically 
killed the party as a national political organization. It still had 
strength, however, when the Kansas-Xebraska bill was intro- 
duced in congress in 1854. The remnant of the party split over 
this measure, the southern members favoring it with the Dem- 
ocrats and the northern wing bitterly opposing it. After such 
a union of southern Whigs and Democrats on the slavery issue, 
it was natural to expect that the two parties in North Carolina 
would merge into one. But party bitternesses and differences 
of opinion on other matters were too intense. North Carolina 
Whigs sought temporary shelter in the ranks of the new Know 
Nothing party. The Whigs of North Carolina carried into 

Worth Car lima Stai iard, February 7, 1855. 

Weekly 1\ orth Carolina Standard, February 5, 1335. 

Manhood Suffrage in jSTobth Carolina 73 

their new party most 01 their ideas on state politics, and among 
these was opposition to free suffrage by legislative enactment. 
The new party lasted through the campaign of 1856, but the 
Know Nothing principles of opposition to immigrants and 
Catholics had no application to North Carolina where there 
was no great number of foreigners. Hence the enthusiasm 
for the new party soon waned, and finding that it was not as 
strong as the old Whig organization, the Whigs after 1857 
returned to their old party name. 75 

The Democratic candidate for governor in 1856 was Bragg, 
who was running for re-election. The Know Nothings nomi- 
nated Gilmer, who as a Whig had been prominent in his op- 
position to manhood suffrage by legislative enactment. He 
had voted against the bill of the Democrats in the Assemblies 
of 1848, 1850, 1852, and 1854 and had fought strongly for a 
convention. 76 He was one of the forty politicians who had 
signed the western address, and who had tried in vain to split 
the Whig and Democratic parties. 7T The convention which 
nominated Gilmer declared in its platform: "Whereas there 
exist various and conflicting opinions among Whigs and 
Democrats both as to the propriety of amending the consti- 
tution, as well as to the manner and extent to which amend- 
ment should be made : Resolved, — that in order that the para- 
mount principles of Americanism may not be trammeled in the 
ensuing contest by vexed state questions made up by former 
political organizations, the American party, eschewing sec- 
tional issues in the state as well as in the Union, declare their 
purpose of abiding by and maintaining the representative basis 
of the present constitution." 78 In the canvass Gilmer took the 
traditional Whig attitude as to free suffrage. He favored the 
abolition of the qualification by means of a convention and op- 
posed a change in the basis. He claimed that he was a better 
free suffrage man than Bragg, because his plan would have pro- 
cured the amendment long ago. 79 He, true to the western 
address, favored amendments other than free suffrage, such 

w Wagstaff, State Rights and Political Parties in North Carolina, pp. 90-6; 
also Cole, Whig Party in the South. 

"Weekly A orth Carolina Standard, April 3, 1852. 
See above, pp. IS, 16, 17, 

"f If . .1.1 rv' J". , A •' . 

"Weekly Raleigh Register. April lo, 1856. 
* Weekly Xorth Carolina Standard, May 7, 135 

6; and Raleigh Register, June 

74 Historical Papers 

as an increased tax on slaves and the election of judges by the 
people. The Democrats urged that, because Gilmer had in the 
western address favored the white basis, he was still in favor 
of it. The accusation hurt the American candidate among the 
conservative slave holders of the east, and he made a poor race 
in consequence, Bragg favored only one change in the con- 
stitution and oppposed the convention proposition. The Demo- 
cratic candidate was re-elected by the unausually large ma- 
jority of 12,594 votes, and a Democratic majority of forty on 
joint ballot in the Assembly assured the passage of the free 
suffrage amendment by the two-thirds majority required by the 

The free suffrage bill was introduced in the Senate by 
Boyd in November of 1856. 81 The bill proposed stated the 
fact that the amendment had been passed by three-fifths 
of the last assembly. It provided that the governor 
should open the polls within eighty days after the bill 
had passed by a two-thirds vote, and that thus the will 
of the people as to its acceptance or rejection should be 
ascertained. The bill further provided that if the amend- 
ment was adopted and ratified, it should be enrolled 
as part of the constitution by the Secretary of State. 82 
The Governor's message, coming out a few days after the in- 
troduction of this bill, urged that it be passed. By the end of 
November the Boyd bill had passed its three readings in the 
Senate by considerably more than the constitutional majority. 
In the the House the votes in its favor were practically unani- 
mous, the count being 109 to 4 at one time and 93 to 5 at an- 
other. There was one attempt at amendment in the House, 
Thomas proposing to limit the taxation of land per acre to 
twelve-fiftieths of that on polls, as a guarantee that the land- 
holders, who were being deprived by the amendment of what 
they considered their rights, would be protected against ex- 
cessive taxation. 83 The proposal of Thomas was declared out 
of order by the Speaker, and his ruling was sustained by the 
House. Mr. D. F. Caldwell of Guilford entered his solemn 

"> Ibid., August 20, 1856. 

S1 Ibid., November 22, 1356. 

*= Ibid., November 29, 1856. 

83 Raleigh Register, January 14, 1857. 

Manhood Suffrage m North Carolina 75 

protest against passing the bill, doing this in the face of over- 
whelming opposition. 84 He had opposed manhood suffrage 
since its inception in 1848. 

The bill as finally passed was essentially the same as the 
measure of 1850, except that it contained a history of the pass- 
age of the bill at various times. It provided that the amend- 
ment abolishing the free-hold requirement should be submitted 
to the people for ratification on the hrst Thursday in August 
of 1857, sixty days notice being given by the Governor. 85 
The governor's proclamation as to the election was duly pub- 
lished on September 12, 1857, and later an announcement w r as 
issued stating that the amendment had been ratified by the 
people at the polls, the vote being 50.075 for ratification and 
19,382 against. The amendment was then declared to be a 
part of the constitution of North Carolina. 86 

With the vote as overwhelmingly for ratification as it was, 
it is difficult to draw any conclusions as to the sectional di- 
vision of the votes. A list of the eastern and central counties 
with their votes shows that there were cast in all 21,100 ballots 
and of these 14,114 were for and 6,986 against ratification. 
This ratio of two to one is somewhat behind the vote 
for the whole State, which was nearly three to one. In 
the extreme west w T e find Cherokee County on the one 
hand with a vote of 814 for ratification and only four 
against, while Craven in the extreme east was about 
evenly divided, 216 for and 263 against. 87 From this com- 
parison we may conclude that much of the opposition to free 
suffrage came from the eastern slave and land-holding 
aristocracy. The history of the bill during its passage through 
the legislature would contradict this conclusion, but we must 
remember that the west was really very democratic and only 
opposed manhood suffrage in order to use that issue to obtain 
a constitutional convention in which it hoped to enact amend- 
ments that would wipe out such undemocratic, or rather anti- 
western, features of the constitution as the taxation basis of 
apportionment, in the Senate. 

W'/^'^y M&rth Carolina Standard, December 3, 1856. 
Weekfy North Carolina Standard, December 7, 1856. 
\ft4., September 2, 1857. 
IMA,, August 12, 1857. 

76 • Historical Papers 

From this we are led to the conclusion that the manhood 
suffrage movement was not entirely as democratic as its sup- 
porters pretended it to be. The measure was supported by the 
progressive Democrats in the west as well as the reactionary, 
Democrats of the east, and the continual demands of the west 
for fairer representation and more democratic government 
were ignored. The favoring of free suffrage by the conserva- 
tive element of the Democratic party is to be understood as an 
attempt to appease rather than to satisfy the westerners. The 
Whigs of the west resisted and demanded a convention be- 
cause they preferred to be satisiied rather than appeased. 

With the nature of the manhood suffrage movement well 
in mind, we may now notice the effects of this movement upon 
the later history of North Carolina. The free suffrage move- 
ment was mainly the cause of the fail of the Whig party and 
the rise of the Democratic party into power. Such an issue as 
manhood suffrage was necessarily popular ; and therefore 
gained votes for the party supporting it. Moreover this issue 
brought dissension between the inharmonious elements of the 
Whig party. Free suffrage was too radical for the conserva- 
tives and too conservative for the radicals : so the Whigs were 
weakened by internal strife, and the Democrats gained a lease 
of power which lasted until 1862. The result of this Democratic 
supremacy was important for the history of North Carolina. 
The agitation for manhood suffrage had liberalized the party, 
and it helped to make liberal ideas triumphant. As has been 
shown, the movement for free suffrage was not the most demo- 
cratic one possible ; but it was, nevertheless, a very advanced 
stand to be taken by an organization which had been as con- 
servative as the Democratic party of 1836-1848. Manhood 
suffrage gave its advocates a progressive issue, which drew to 
the party the young men and which made it popular in the 
west. The result was a liberalization of the Democratic poli- 
cies which made itself felt in the attitude of this party towards 
internal improvements and educational development. Previous 
to 1848 the Democratic party was strongly opposed to all in- 
ternal improvements. Its members often refused to vote for 
money for railroads, plank roads, schools, or other state insti- 
tutions. In 1848 only a small minority of the party was in 

Manhood Suffrage m North Carolina 77 

favor of internal improvements, and nearly all of this was in 
the west. Iii this year there was a threatened division within 
the party over the issued 8 After this organization had become 
liberalized through the influence of the free suffrage move- 
ment., we find its members voting large sums for internal im- 
provements and education. 

The history of the manhood suffrage movement in North 
Carolina is typical, in respect to the time required to accom- 
plish the change, of many movements in the state. It took our 
politicians nine years of constant agitation to decide to abolish 
such a palpable evil as the free-hold requirement for suffrage 
in senatorial elections. Instances of similar slowness of action 
are plentiful in the history of the state. 


secondary works 

Bassett — Suffrage in Nortn Carolina. (Report of the 
American Historical Association, 1895-1S96.) 

Boyd — Antecedents of the Convention of 1835. (South 
Atlantic Quarterly, Vol. IX.) 

Boyd — North Carolina on the Eve of Secession. (Report 
of the American Historical Association, 1910.) 

Cole — Whig Party in the South. 

Raper — North Carolina, A Study in Colonial Government. 

Wagstaff — State Rights and Political Parties in North 
Carolina. (Johns Hopkins University Studies, series XXIV, 
Nos. 7-8.) 


Colonial Records of North Carolina. 

Correspondence of David S. Reid. (MSS., North Caro- 
lina Historical Commission.) 

Legislative Documents of North Carolina, 1848-1857. 

Memoirs of W. W. Holden. (John Lawson Monographs, 
Vol. II.) 

Pamphlets: Speech of David Caldwell, (1851) ; The Con- 
stitution of North Carolina, (1851); The Western Address, 

"Memoirs of W. W. Holden, p. 7. 

78 . Historical Papees 

Poore — Constitutions and Charters. 
Raleigh Register, semi-weekly, (1848-1857). 
Raleigh Register, daily, (1851-1852). 
Raleigh Standard, semi-weekly, (1848-1857) 
Raleigh Standard, weekly, (1850-1856). 
Thorpe — State and Federal Constitutions. 


Some Phases of Reconstruction hi Wilmington 
and the County of New Hanover * 

Br Bryant Whjtlock Ruark 


The Cape Fear section of North Carolina has long been 
regarded as one full of historical interest. The citizens of 
Wilmington and the surrounding country responded nobly to 
the Revolutionary cause in 1775, and when North Carolina 
decided to cast her fortune with the other Southern States in 
1861, New Hanover County again rallied to arms in defense 
of her home and people. 

The people of the Cape Fear section were champions of 
the South's cause from the very beginning of the secession 
movement. The Wilmington Journal was among the first 
newspapers of the State, to favor radical action. It took such 
a stand when sentiment as a whole was overwhelmingly in 
favor of the Union, 1 Geo. Davis attended the Peace Confer- 
ence in Washington City but returned an advocate of seces- 
sion. 2 Mr- Hamilton, in his work on Reconstruction in North 
Carolina, is authority for the statement that the secession 
movement of the state as a whole started in Wilmington. The 
first 4i States Rights" meeting was held there and from this 
developed the sentiment that led to similar meetings through- 
out the state. 3 

In ante-bellum days, Wilmington was a very important 
port, being easily the largest naval stores market in the United 
States. A large trade in naval stores, timber and cotton 
flourished with the W' T est Indies ; and from them were received 
in return such articles as sugar, molasses, and coffee. The 
town also enjoyed a brisk trade with the North and with 
Europe. Steamship lines to Fayetteville brought it in touch 
with the upper Cape Fear, and coastwise vessels known as 
"Corn Crackers" were a means of intercourse with the north- 

* In this essay, after the Introduction, the following topics are discussed: — 
'•■'"Juration, The Court System, The City of Wilmington, Social and Economic 
* imditions, and Political Affairs. 

' Hamilton, Reconstruction in Notth Carolina, p. 

{''"-'•. I>. 34, note. 


Hamilton, Reconstruction in North Carolina; also Wagstaff, State Rights and 
■■" Parties in North Carolina, p. 127. 


80 Historical Papers 

eastern part of the state. There were ample facilities : ' 
commerce with Charleston and other cities. The town 
joyed good banking facilities and advantages, and altoget 
conditions worked in those days so as to give Wilmington i 
prominent position as a commercial center. 4 

Life in the Cape Fear section was distinctive. An aristocrat- 
ic element was introduced by the coming of the Moore far. 
at the close of the Tuscorora War. 5 Here were to be foun 
large plantations with the stately homes of the owners a 
well-arranged slave buildings. The slaves outnumbered i i 
whites. Social distinctions were marked and were scrupu- 
lously observed. One of the effects of the Civil War was to 
wipe away the social ideals and observances that formerly 
prevailed. The necessity for all to struggle for a livelihood 
caused many social differences to disappear. 6 However the 
aristocracy of the Cape Fear was not only one of land and 
of wealth. There was also an aristocracy of brains, and from 
such families as the Moores, Waddells, Davises. and many 
others came men of rare ability who played a prominent part 
in the events of later years. The occasion of war and the 
struggle itself not only caused a breaking up of the large plan- 
tations and the disruption of aristocratic life, but also devel- 
oped the talents of gifted men. 

Prior to the decision of North Carolina to join the Con- 
federacy, the people of Xew Hanover and adjoining territory 
set to work to perfect military organizations. The principal 
military companies in the town were the Wilmington Light In- 
fantry, formed in 1853, and the German Volunteers, organized 
about the same time. The latter was composed entirely of Ger- 
mans and was the only organization of its kind in the state." 
The former consisted of 39 men and officers, and the latter 
numbered all told 34. Other companies were the Wilmington 
Rifle Guards, numbering 27 men ; Cape Fear Artillery, com- 
posed of 20; and the Cape Fear Rifles consisting of about the 
same number. s These were known as the Reserves of Xew 

* Waddell, Some Memories of My Life, pp. 40, 41. 

5 Connor, Cornelius Harnett, p. 11; also Ashe. Historv of North Carolina, I, 
ch. 15. 

8 Waddell, Some Memories of Mv Life, pD. 42, 43. 

7 Ibid., p. 45. 

8 Clark's Regimental History, Vol. V, passim. 

Reconstruction' in Xcw Hanover County 81 

Hanover. The Wilmington Horse Artillery troop was chartered 
by the legislature in 1861. 9 All were strengthened as the war 
fever increased. 

Early in January, 1861, a committee of Wilmington citizens 
visited Governor Ellis and asked him to seize Forts Johnston 
and Caswell, two Federal Arsenals, at the mouth of the Cape 
Fear River, in the name of the state. The latter was important 
because it commanded the entrance. But he refused. There- 
fore, on the morning of January 10, 1861, several citizens of 
Wilmington, organized as a Committee of Safety under the 
name of "The Cape Fear Minute Men," and under the com- 
mand of John J. Heddrick, captured Fort Johnston. That 
same afternoon in company with S. D. Thrtiston, captain of the 
"Smithville Guards," and a number of the citizens of Smith- 
ville, now Southport, they took possession of Fort Caswell. 
Governor Ellis telegraphed to Washington to know if the 
Federal government intended to garrison the forts. He receiv- 
ed the reply that this would be done when it became necessary. 
Thruston was obliged to give up the forts as it was thought they 
had been captured by the state militia, but this was a mistake. 
However, they were recaptured by the Wilmington Light In- 
fantry, the German Volunteers, and the Wilmington Rifle 
Guards under the command of Colonel John L. Cantwell, on 
April 16, 1861. 10 

In addition to the Reserves, New Hanover County sent 
men to various regiments. Company H of the Fortieth 
Regiment was organized at Wilmington in 1861, and con- 
sisted principally of Irishmen. Company A of the Forty- 
first Regiment, known as the Rebel Rangers, consisting of 163 
men, came from Xew Hanover County. It has not been possi- 
ble to determine the number of men sent to the front, but 
many able-bodied men left and never returned, leaving those 
dependent on them reduced to trying circumstances. 11 And 
the fact that many bread winners failed to return accounts in 
part for the dire economic struggle of the period of recon- 

9 Laws, 1360-61, ch. 101. 

"Rebellion Records, Series I. Vol. 51, Parr 1, p. 2. 

New Hanover men composed Companies A and C of the First N. C. Regi- 
ment, Co.'s D, F, and N, of the Third, Co. C of the Seventh, Co. F of the Eighth, 
and the whole of the Fifty-first Regiment. 


Historical Papers 

adequate coast defenses, there was chosen 
for the town of Wilmington a Committee of Safety in the latter 
part of February, 1861. Members of this were John C. McRae, 
who was later agent abroad for the State, W. A. Wright and 
J. D. Bellamy. A meeting was held April 16, 1862, to raise 
money for the defense of the river, and although no figures are 
obtainable, a substantial sum was provided. Early in 1862 
General W. H. C. Whiting was assigned to the command of 
ihe district of the Cape Fear, and he together with Colonel 
S. L. Fremont, whom the Committee of Safety had appointed 
Superintendent of Coast Defenses, undertook to make ade- 
quate provision for protection. In a letter to General Ben S. 
Cooper, 1 - Whiting states that Wilmington was very much ex- 
posed and asked for additional material to erect batteries at 
Masonboro, near Wilmington, and New Inlet, near Fort 
Fisher, at the Cape Fear and Bald Head Landing, at the south- 
ern end of Bald Head Island, and at Forts Caswell and John- 
ston, at the mouth of the Cape Fear. He also asked for a 
reserve of 1,000 men. There were only three batteries erected : 
one each at Oak Island, situated near Fort Caswell, Zeke's 
Island, just south of Fort Fisher, and Confederate Point. 13 
Whiting was constantly faced with the problem of protecting 
the coast with inadequate means, and stringent measures were 
resorted to in order to carry on the work. For instance, he 
called on Governor Vance for iron from the Wilmington, 
Charlotte, and Rutherfordton Railroad Company to complete 
the casements at Caswell. 14 He made frequent calls on Gover- 
nor Vance for negroes to work on the defenses and was granted 
about live hundred. 15 These, however, had to be returned to 
their owners in time for the harvests, and their withdrawal 
necessitated a call upon the residents of the county for manual 
labor. To this situation was added a disagreeable condition 
brought about by a conflict between the civil and military au- 
thorities, Minors who had been pressed into service made 
application to the courts for writ of habeas corpus in order 
that they might be relieved from service. Quite a deal of 

12 Rebellion Records, Series I, Vol. 51, part 2, p. 83. 

13 These were in addition to the regular fortifications of Forts Johnston, Cas- 
well, and Fisher. 

14 Vance MSS. Letter-hook, Vol. 1. p. 84. 
13 Ibid., p. 162. 

Reconstruction ix Xew Hafover County 83 

correspondence passed between Vance and Whiting on this 
point. Later on another source of difficulty arose. The State 
owned some salt works at Masonboro Sound. Whiting made 
the charge that the state salt workers were giving information 
relative to the defenses. In July, 1864, he asserted that two- 
thirds of them were members of a traitorous organization 
known as "H. O. A.", which was also very strong in Randolph 
County. 1 ' 3 In 1863, the withdrawal of the negroes demanded 
that additional forces be granted. Whiting, who was put in 
charge of the District of the Cape Fear, created in 1863, called 
on Seddon, the Confederate Secretary of War, for troops. 17 
He also asked Vance for four or five regiments. 18 Five thou- 
sand troops were sent. In September, 1864, Whiting applied 
to General Lee for forces, and received a reply that he must 
depend on the state forces. Practically all of the state's troops 
were withdrawn by this time, and affairs had come to a crisis. 
In October of 1864, there were only twelve to fifteen hundred 
men to man the defenses. 19 The above instances illustrate the 
lack of harmony between the officers in charge and the state 
officials. The former made charges that they were being neg- 
lected, and it was proposed that the southeastern counties join 
South Carolina in order that they might have proper coast 
defense. 20 In addition to this, great disorder prevailed be- 
cause of lack of proper police regulations, and a stagnation of 
business resulted from the unsettled conditions. Moreover, in 
the fall of 1862, the town of Wilmington suffered much from 
an epidemic of yellow fever. Thus war, pestilence, and famine 
combined to bring misery to the people. 

Upon the proclamation of Lincoln issued April 19, 1861, 
declaring a blockade of Southern ports, measures were at once 
taken to close the port of Wilmington, the natural advantages 
of which for blockade running were clearly evident. The first 
blockader was placed on the Cape Fear River in July, 1861, and 
first and last thirty or more were used to guard the river. 
Wilmington became the chief cotton port for the Confederacy. 

18 Vance MSS. Letter-book, Vol. 2, p. 196, contains only a reference to the 
"H. O. A." The writer has been unable to obtain further information. 

"Vance MSS. Letter-book, Vol. 1, p. 350. 

,s Vance MSS. Letter-book, Vol. 1, p. .'77. 

l9 Vaiu-e MSS. Utter-book, Vol. 2, p. 273. 

20 Hamilton, Reconstruction in North Carolina, D. 44. Wilmington Journal, 
September 25, 1862. 

8-± Historical Papers 

The "Corn Crackers" had gone, as had also the line of steamers 
between New York and Wilmington and Charleston and Wil- 
mington. But cotton compresses were kept busy, and a fleet 
of blockade runners carried the staple from Wilmington to 
Nassau, five hundred and seventy miles distant, and to Ber- 
muda, six hundred and seventy-four miles from Wilmington. 
In return they brought ammunition and provisions such as 
salt, sugar, and molasses. Relative to blockade running-, Air. 
James Sprunt, purser of the Confederate blockade runner 
Lillian, says : 

"In the early stage of the war, blockade running was car- 
ried on in part by sailing vessels ; for the blockade was not 
yet rigorous, and speed on the part of the venturesome had 
not become essential to success. The proclamation of the 
blockade had suspended the legitimate commerce, and the 
owners of the cheap sailing craft which faced the extra hazard 
of war, had, for a time, little to lose and much to gain in the 
venture. The inward cargoes were less valuable than those 
brought by later steam vessels, and they consisted of such 
necessary commodities as salt, sugar, molasses and other cheap- 
er supplies. These cargoes were not then openly declared 
from neutral countries for a blockaded port, their ostensible 
destination being the markets of the North; and when by 
chance an enterprising shipper suspiciously near the Carolina 
coast, was overhauled by a cruiser, he was always ready with a 
plausible story of adverse winds and false reckonings. For a 
time such cases were allowed to withdraw with a warning. 
In later months all suspicious craft detected in the act of ap- 
proaching a blockaded port were seized in the name of the 
United States, and sent in charge of the prize crew to a con- 
venient Northern port for adjudication, which invariably re- 
sulted in their condemnation and sale." 21 

In the autumn of 1862 there occurred in Wilmington a 
severe epidemic of yellow fever. This disease was brought 
from Nassau by the blockade steamer "Kate" and was the re- 
sult of a laxity in quarantine regulations. 22 Mr. Sprunt says: 
"The good old town was sadly marred by the plagues of war 

' n James Sprunt, Tales of the Cape Fear Blockade, pp. 41, 42; also, Wilmington 
Journal, September 12. 1862. 

a Ibid., pp. 11-15; Waddell, Some Memories of My Life. 

Reconstruction in 'Nbw IIaxover County 85 

and of pestilence and famine ; four hundred and forty-seven 
of a population, reduced by flight to five thousand, had been 
carried oft" by the epidemic of yellow fever brought from 
Nassau by the steamer Kate; and hundreds more of the young- 
er generation, who gave up their lives in the Confederate cause 
had been brought to their final resting place in Oakdale Ceme- 
tery. Suspension of the civil law, neglect of sanitary pre- 
caution, the removal of nearly all of the famine stricken 
women and children to safer places in the interior, and the 
coming of speculators to the auction sales of the blockade 
runners' merchandise, as well as of lawless and depraved 
characters attracted by the camps and shipping, had quite 
changed the aspect of the whole community." 

According to the Wilmington Journal, there were reported 
from September 19 to November 15, fifteen hundred and five of yellow fever and six hundred and eighty deaths in 
Wilmington and vicinity. 23 Strenuous measures were taken 
to combat the ravages of the plague. The city employed a 
corps of physicians. Nurses were sent from Asheville, Charles- 
ton, and other points. Fayetteville, Charleston, Montgomery, 
Ala., and Asheville sent contributions in money and goods. 
The fever raged from September 19 to November 15, and 
some days as many as sixty-four deaths were reported. Differ- 
ent organizations of the city raised funds, and, in one instance, 
a body of Jewish citizens subscribed eleven hundred dollars in 
five minutes. With the coming of cold weather the disease 
began to abate. 24 

Such were some of the conditions in Wilmington and ad- 
jacent country from 1 861-1865, during the time of strife. War, 
famine, and pestilence dealt their deadly blows. All the while 
the question of adequate coast defenses was harrowing the 
minds of those in command. The beginning of the end came 
when; toward the end of the war, the Federals turned their 
guns on Fort Fisher. On the morning of January 13, 1865, 
the bombardment began and for three days continued. To 
illustrate the strait to which the Confederates were reduced, 
an instance told by an uncle of the writer in the Confederate 

n Wilmington Journal, November 20, 1862; also, Waddell, Some Memories of 
My Life, p. 55. 

-* Wilmington Journal, November 28, 1362. 

86 Historical Papers 

Army is here given. On the morning of the day before 
Fort fell, each Confederate soldier was given for his day's 
lowance a pint of dry peas. These were soaked in water 
eaten raw because there was not time for cooking. Januarv 15 
the Fort was captured, and the Federals took possession or tl 
town on February 22, 1S65.- 1, Wilmington and the surround- 
ing country then entered upon the reconstruction era, during 
which it was yet to undergo many a dark and dreary ex- 


Xaturally the confusion during the war and the period im- 
mediately following caused many of the schools to be close":. 
It was not long, however, before schools began to be re-estab- 
lished. In February of 1866, Hamilton McMillan, a graduate 
of the University of Xorth Carolina, opened a classical and 
scientific school for the instruction of the whites. 20 In March 
of the same year, a school for negroes was set up, and St. 
Paul's Episcopal Church, belonging to white people, was used 
as a school room for negro education.- 7 

It was not until 1867 that any appreciable advance took 
place in educational matters. In February, 1867, Mr. J. X. 
Hinton organized the Wilmington High School, a private insti- 
tution with an enrollment of sixty pupils. 2S Xegroes were not 
admitted. Closely following, the legislature passed an act to 
incorporate the Wilmington Institute, which institution began 
work on March 15. 1867. 29 

Xorthern and Federal organizations also became active in 
education. In March, 1867. the Soldiers Memorial Society of 
Boston opened a school for the negroes. Two teachers, young 
ladies from the Xorth. were sent to take charge. 30 Almost 
simultaneously, the American Unitarian Association and the 
Young Ladies Union Benevolent" Society established industr'al 
schools for the negroes. Both of these were northern organi- 
zations whose purpose was to educate the negroes of the 

^ For a contemporary account of the entry of the Union soldiers into the * 
see Burkhead. L. S., History : the Difficulties of the Pastorate of the Front S r 
Methodist Church. Wilmington, for the year 1865 (Paper? of the Trinity College 
Historical Society, £ ties [II, pp. 37, 38). 
Fe r . r . 12, 1S66. 

-"• Ibid., March 15, : _ 

** Morning Star, February 17, 1867. 

39 Wilmington Journal, March 1, 1367. 

30 Morning Star, March 5, 1867. 

Reconstruction is New Hanover County ST 

South. 31 Their activities were prompted partly by the desire 
to better the condition of the negroes, and partly because of the 
impression that the whites wished to keep them in an ignorant 
condition. In general, these teachers from the North were 
kindly and politely received by the Southern people, yet it is 
true that some of them were not tactful, and friction resulted. 

The initiative by outsiders had a very important effect ; it 
served to stir public spirited citizens to action. Within three 
days of the establishment of the above schools, a committee of 
citizens met and raised $99.50 for a public school for white 
children. 32 This amount was insufficient for immediate action, 
and it was held in trust until further funds could be raised. 
In the following month, the Ladies Benevolent Society, an 
organization whose object was primarily to relieve suffering, 
took a lively interest in the matter. It is interesting to know 
that Mrs. Catherine Kennedy, familiarly called "Mother" 
Kennedy, president of the society at this time, later founded 
the Catherine Kennedy Home for old ladies, and this Home 
still exists in Wilmington and is supported by public sub- 
scriptions. The Ladies Benevolent Society appointed a com- 
mittee of twelve to devise plans for forming a school. 33 This 
committee acted in conjunction with the mayor of the town, 
with whom the subscription of $99.50 had been deposited. 
This amount was now supplemented by a further subscription 
of $563.00, and a building was erected at the corner of Sixth 
and Orange Streets. A city school was put into operation, and 
thus was carried out the provisions of "An Act authorizing in- 
corporated cities and towns to establish a system of schools." 
which had .been passed by the Legislature the preceding month 
(March, 1867). 34 

In August, 1867, the Unitarian Association of Boston set 
up a free school for white children. 3 -" The former schools 
opened by the northern societies had been for the negroes. A 
schoolhouse was built in the Dry Pond section of Wilmington, 
and Misses Amy Bradley and Girish came South to take 
charge. In this connection an instance occurred in which the 

:!1 Ibid., March 5, 1S67. 
-Ibid., March 8, 1867. 
'• Ibid., March 12. 1867. 

M Morning Star, March 14, 1867: also, Public Laws of North Carolina, 1366-67, 
ch. U. 

35 Morning Star, August 15, 1867, 

8S Historical Papers 

charge that teachers from the North were actuated by personal 
interests received a contradiction. The attendance upon this 
school reached 135 ; and as two teachers were not sufficient. 
Miss Bradley hired a third teacher out of her own salary. 
Miss Bradley through the aid of Mrs. Heminway, of Boston, 
built the Heminway school for teachers which later became 
the City High School. In the latter part of 1867 there were 
established two church schools, one by St. John's Parish and 
the other by Rev. Mr. Myers of the Jewish Snyagogue. The 
latter was called the Wilmington Collegiate Institute,, and in 
addition to the regular courses modern languages were 
taught. 36 

Soon the negroes, stirred by the work of others in their 
behalf, became active in education. A body of negroes applied 
for a charter, and, on December 21, 1867, G. W. Price, Thos. 
Rivera, Frederick Brown, Aden Evans. Joseph Mitchell, Heze- 
kiah Reede, John C. Norwood, Alfred Howe and William 
H. B. Brady were created a body corporate under the name of 
the "Wilmington Colored Institute' , for the purpose of "es- 
tablishing schools for the education of colored children re- 
siding in the City of Wilmington without discrimination as to 
denomination." 37 This was the first instance in which colored 
men were created a body corporate under the law of North 
Carolina. It has not been possible to learn the extent of the 
work actually done by this body, but it did establish one or 
two schools. In July, 1868, Alfred Howe and six others were 
created "A body politic and corporate" under the name and 
style of the "Society of St. Barnabas." This corporation 
was also composed of negroes and had for its object the edu- 
cation of the negro youth. 38 There is no record to be obtained 
of any material progress having been made by this body. In 
the same month, the Freedmen's Aid Association of Boston 
built a schoolhouse for negroes, and it is probable that one of 
these two corporations used the building. 39 The establishment 
of the Cape Fear Academy and Colston's High School for 

38 Morning Scar, October 24, 1367. 

37 Wilmington Journal, January 1, 1363; Morning Star, January 1, 1868. The 
writer has not been able to find the text of the act here mentioned. The only 
authority is the ne-.vsoaoers. 

« Ibid., July- 17. 1868. 

33 Morning Star, July 9, 186S. 

Reconstruction m New Hanover County 80 

white children in July, 186$, were the last important steps in 
promoting the growth of schools. 40 

Reference thus far has been made to the schools of 
the City of Wilmington. An effort to find out in detail 
about those in the county at large prior to ratification of 
the constitution of 1868 was unsuccessful, but an edi- 
torial in the Morning Star, July 16, 1868, indicates that 
there were in the county twenty-seven schools. An act passed 
in 1867 created D. S. Durham. H. E. Carr, S. S. Satch- 
well, T. P. Armstrong, J. S. Hines, Jas. Durham and Calvin 
Hines a body politic, styled "Trustees of Rocky Point Acade- 
my." It was declared unlawful to sell spirituous liquors within 
f hree miles of the school house. 41 

The Convention of 1868 placed education under the con- 
trol of a central Board. S. S. Ashley, a carpetbagger from 
Massachusetts who had lived in Wilmington, was chosen State 
Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Board reported to 
the Legislature, and, in April, 1869, an act was passed author- 
izing the Board to organize a system of public schools. In 
November. 1869, the superintendency of county schools was 
put in charge of the county commissioners. The county com- 
missioners of New Hanover County took steps to establish 
schools immediately. Precincts were erected and committees 
appointed in each to report. 42 This was the first definite action 
on record in reference to public schools in the county since the 
office of State Superintendent was made vacant in 1865. How- 
ever, a careful search among the newspaper files during the 
period under consideration failed to give information as to 
further action. 

Other educational factors were the Wilmington Lyceum 
and the Library xVssociation. The former was established im- 
mediately after the war; the latter had existed before the war 
but was reorganized and materially strengthened. Public de- 
bates, lectures, and dramatic plays were held. Their officers 
were prominent men who gave their time and effort without 
stint, and their activities did much to further the cause of edu- 
cation in this section. Another educational influence was the 

""Ibid., July 12, 1868. 

41 Private Laws of North Carolina, 1866-67, ch. 61. 

** Morning Star, October 2.7, 1363. 

90 . Historical Paper* 

Freetown's Bureau which established schools in the South fo 

negroes: I have not been able to find information regarding 
schools established by it in New Hanover County. 


The administration of justice during reconstruction was 
quite a problem. The court system was very much compli- 
cated, and the jurisdictions exercised by various courts often 
indefinite and conflicting. Also, their work was often 
hampered by military interference. Military authority did not 
supersede civil jurisdiction suddenly, but rather by a gradual 

New Hanover, together with Brunswick and Sampson 
Counties, constituted a part of the Fourth Judicial District of 
North Carolina in the Federal District Court System. The 
District Court's jurisdiction did not cover matters peculiarly of 
County interests, and hence is not of much importance in this 
connection. Its jurisdiction extended over crimes committed 
on the high seas, embezzlement or secretion of property be- 
longing to the United States, forgery to deceive a government 
official, violations of internal revenue laws, smuggling, wreck- 
ing, violations of commerce, and similar crimes and misde- 
meanors. The court went into operation upon the revival of 
federal authority just after the war. Its officers during the 
period of our study were Hon. G. W. Brooks, Judge; Darius 
H. Starbuck, District Attorney; and J. H. Neft, Marshal, 
until 1868 when he became the mayor of Wilmington. 43 In 
November of 1867, Judge Brooks declared freedom from the 
military authorities, asserted the court's competence to pass 
upon its own jurors, and instructed the marshal to draw up 
the jury lists without distinction as to race or color. 44 It is 
interesting to note, however, that for a period of more than 
two years not a single negro juror sat in this court. 

The administrative business of the County prior to the 
adoption of the Constitution of 1868 was carried on through 
the County Court, the same Court which performed that func- 
tion prior to the war. The court dealt with such matters as 

43 Wilmington Journal, May 5, 1S68. 
"Ibid., November 7, 1867. 

Reconstruction ix Xew Hanover County 91 

are today supervised by the board of County Commissioners, 45 
Thus it looked after die building of roads, and the erection and 
repair of bridges. In general it had control over county finances, 
both revenues and expenditures. For instance on March 11, 
1368, the Court appropriated $12,000 to establish a workhouse, 
and it also had the power of granting liquor licenses. It also ex- 
ercised judicial functions in cases of petty crimes, — offenses 
against the public order and others of like nature being within 
its jurisdiction. The court also appointed county inspectors 
for naval stores, cotton, and other products. The chairman of 
this court administered the oath of office to the County officers, 
magistrates, clerk of the County Court, and Superior Court 
Clerks. It had charge of criminal matters, and in the latter 
part of 1866. when disorder was rife, a committee was appoint- 
ed to confer with the Freedmen's Bureau as to better dis- 
cipline of the negroes. In 1866, a sentence of whipping was im- 
posed on five negroes who had committed petty larceny. When 
this sentence was being carried out by Sheriff Bunting, two 
Federal soldiers entered the court room to arrest him, but the 
chairman would not recognize their verbal authority. The 
contention that the sentence was a continuation of the slave 
code was claimed by the officers as a basis of their action. The 
matter was finally adjusted by Colonel Beadle, the officer then 
in charge of the Freedmen Bureau. 40 The County Court at 
first had jurisdiction over the county police and over the ap- 
pointment of constables, but these powers were later withdrawn 
and placed in the hands of the military. 

The levy of taxes was also a matter under its care. and. to 
illustrate the principles of taxation, a few examples from the 
tax lists, operative in April. 1866, are here given. Tax on real 
estate was ten cents on the hundred dollar valuation ; the tax on 
the poll was one dollar. In some instances the tax was laid in 
reference to earning power; — thus ferries were taxed one per 
cent on their gross receipts and express companies were taxed 
two and one-half per cent on their gross receipts. Licenses 
were issued to shows, theaters, liquor dealers, and others. 
Amount of goods purchased sometimes served as a basis of as- 
sessntent. Merchants were required to pay a tax of one- 

4 j fbid., March 11, 1S68. 
' » ilmington Journal, March, 1866. 

92 Historical Papers 

quarter per cent on purchases, and dealers in vehicles had to 
pay two per cent on their sales. These instances illustrate the 
tax system which prevailed before, and for sometime after, the 
war. State as well as county taxes were included. In general 
county taxes were levied upon the same plan as state taxes. 
The amount of taxes for the year 1867-8 aggregated $50,075.42, 
of which SI 5,927.96 was due the state. The year following 
county taxes were 33 1-3 per cent higher, it being declared 
that taxes for the ensuing year "Shall be the same as those 
for state purposes by the General Revenue Act now in force 
with one hundred cents per centum on the same additional 
thereto." But even with the increased revenue, making a total 
of $39,236.54, county finances were so administered that the 
county credit was seriously impaired, and bonds of New Han- 
over county sold at eighty-seven cents on the dollar. In July, 
1869, the County Commissioners resolved that, ''whereas the 
financial condition of the county did not justify the prompt pay- 
ment of claims, no claims be paid except the coupons which 
might become due on the county bonds." 47 The County Courts 
of North Carolina were abolished by General Orders, Number 
120, and their unfinished business was ordered to be settled by 
the Superior Courts in April 21, 1868. In 1868 an act was 
passed by the General Assembly to facilitate the transfer of 
business from the county to the Superior Courts. 4S 

The Provost Court was important. This Court, unlike the 
others, emanated from military authority. It was established 
in March, 1867. In Canby's Special Orders, Number 29, provi- 
sion was made for provost courts for New Hanover, Bruns- 
wick, Bladen, and Columbus Counties. 4;) In General Orders 
Number 18, issued prior to the erection of the court in New 
Hanover, its government and jurisdiction were defined. 50 Its 
officers were a Judge and Provost Marshal General. In New- 
Hanover, J. C. Mann, an officer of the Freedmen's Bureau, 
was appointed Judge; Lieut. G. A. Williams held the position 
of Marshal General for two months, and then Col. H. B. Judd 
succeeded him. In general the jurisdiction of Provost Courts 
covered civil cases in which the amount involved did not ex- 

* T Minutes of Meetings of County Commissicners, Tulv 7, 1869. 

*• Canby's Centra! Order No. 120, Public Laws of North Carolina, 1868, ch. 266. 

" Wilmington Journal, March 27, 1S67. 

00 Ibid., March 18, 1868. 


cede $300.00; lebtpi cas ss, in hich ten days' notice mi 
given if the amount sxcee k - S25.00 and fifteen lays 1 notice E 
the amount exceeded $10.00, but these notices could be wai 
■-'- . the :onsent of bo:h parties; other offences not primarily 

r ■ in nature all :■: whi:h evterting manslaughter, assault 
with intention :; ddd dueling, perjury, arson an . rape, being 
transferred to the Post Comman irt ; elections on I cases arisii , 
therefrom, such as prevention of voting by intimi Lation, etc.: 
offenses at common lavs? un ier the state statutes. In February 
of 1868, its jurisdiction was limited ::• three matters. It ha 
jurisdiction in matters of difference between employee and the 
employer relative to rights under military orders; when the 
proper state authorities faded or were unable to protect persons 
and property the court might have jurisdiction, as when the 
Criminal Court failed to find a true bill against toe defendants 
in the case of Ormsby vs. Murphy, the Provost Court took the 
case in hand: when impartial justice could not be had. appeal 
was in order to the court." 1 In the case of :';: re Reaves I 1 
10. 1868) Judge Mann assumed original jurisdiction in -rim 
nooters. 52 The Court was subject to military authorities, an : its 
decisions were sometimes forwarded to General Canby as in 
the Reaves case. In case of Bowden vs. King. Canby set aside 
the judgment of the Court. The jurisdiction of the Provost 
Court ceased when the military government was withdrawn. 

Courts of oyer and terminer were also erected to facilitate 
justice. During and immediately after the war disorder pre- 
vailed. Crimes were frequently committed, the procedure of 
the courts was slow, and the docket congested. Hence, special 
courts of oyer and terminer were erected to relieve the con- 
gestion. In 1862 the legislature authorized the Governor to 
issue commissions to superior court judges to hold courts of 
oyer and terminer. Another law of 1S63 provided for the erec- 
tion of courts upon the petition of the county court, the appli- 
cation of the Attorney General, or of the solicitor of any 
jo dual district. In pursuance oi these facts a special court 
was established for Xew Hanover County in the early part :: 
1865. Its existence ended with the termination of the Pro- 
visional Government in Tanuarv. 1866. Later, in Tuiv, 1866, a 

■ ■-■-■!■, F^vruarv 1?. ISoS. 
... May 10, 1S63. 

94 Historical Papers 

special court, for New Hanover was erected, which continued 
in operation until the rise of the new judicial system provided 
for by the constitution of 1868. By the original acts the juris- 
diction of the special court was confined to petty crimes, mis- 
demeanors, and white people only were subject to it. However 
under an amendment made during the war, both races might be 
tried in the special court. The jurisdiction under the act of 
1866 was practically the same as under the war legislation. 

A criminal court with a wider jurisdiction than that of the 
Provost Court and Oyer and Terminer Courts was needed. In 
the early part of 1867. agitation for a criminal court began and 
on February 12, of that year an Act passed the Legislature to 
establish a Criminal Court for Xew Hanover County. 53 The 
judge was elected by the legislature and was commissioned 
by the Governor. Hon. O. P. Meares was first to fill the posi- 
tion. He served until August, 1868, and then, being barred 
from office by the Howard Amendment, he was succeeded by 
Colonel Edward Cantwell. Colonel Cantwell was prominent 
as the author of Cantwell's Justice, and also as a Confederate 
soldier. However, he had received a presidential pardon and 
so could undertake the duties of the office. From this time on 
he was identified with the Republican party. Justice as ad- 
ministered in his court was impartial. The first instance of 
a negro serving as a jury-man occurred in this court in April, 
1868. In August, 1868, the greater portion of the work done 
by the criminal court was taken over by the Special Court of 
Wilmington, created by act of the legislature. The jurisdiction 
over most of the offences committed in the city limits was 
transferred to the special court. The new court also exercised 
jurisdiction in those cases arising in the city which formerly 
would have been tried by the court of pleas and quarter ses- 
sions. Its jurisdiction was thus confined to petty crimes and 
misdemeanors committed within the corporate limits of the 
city. 54 The judge was required to be a resident of the City 
and to have a state law license. He was appointed by the 
Governor for a term of eight years with an annual salary of 
$2,000. The Court met four times a year. Its procedure was 
tike that of the Superior Court to which appeals could be 

53 Laws, 1S67, ch. 28; Morning Star, February 14, 1867. 

54 Laws of North Carolina, 136S (Act of August 8th). 

Reconstruction in Xew Hanovek County 95 

made. There arose four chief objections to the Special Court: 
(I) the expense — two grand juries, and two petit juries were 
by its establishment made necessary; (2) jury service was in- 
convenient and many citizens avoided it when possible; (3) 
there was difficulty in determining whether crimes were com- 
mitted in the City, and hence if it were a matter for the 
Court to dispose of; (4) the bill taxed the City people to sup- 
port the Court. 7 ' 5 However the Court was established, and 
Cantwell was again made Judge. 

It is unnecessary to take up in detail the Superior Courts. 
Their jurisdiction was much the same as today except in so 
far as certain cases were attended to by the various other 
courts. Judge Buxton at first presided but later was succeeded 
by D. L. Russel, a native radical, who afterwards became one 
of the three Republican Governors North Carolina has had. 
There was also a Master in Equity. His duties, as 
denoted by his title, were confined to equity cases. The 
office was abolished along with the County Court. 56 The 
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions did not play an impor- 
tant part. Its jurisdiction at first included matters of a pro- 
bate nature, such as wills, inheritances, administrations of es- 
tates, assessing of damage on property, and hearing of motions. 
Until the establishment of the Criminal Court it exercised 
criminal jurisdiction. Finally there were Military Courts and 
a Special Magistrate's Court. The former dealt with matters 
under the control of the military authorities. The latter con- 
fined itself almost exclusively to ejectment cases. 

Reference has already been made to the fact that military 
interference often obstructed the work of the Judiciary. Be- 
low are a few instances illustrating this. On October 15, 
1867, jury lists were ordered to be prepared under military 
directions. 57 By a special order of General Canby (order No. 
176), registration books were to be submitted by the command- 
ing officer to the sheriff, who was to enter the names on the 
jury list and then return the same to the officer. 58 In August, 
1867, Judge Meares of the Criminal Court was told that all 
juries not drawn in accord with the orders would be suspended. 

^ Morrtitig Star and Wilmington Journal, August 27, 1868. 

:? Wilmington Journal, Julv 21. 1868. 

"Morning Star, October 10, 1867. 

M Wilmington Journal, October 12, 1867. 

96 ' Historical Papers 

jury lists in the Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions Were 
ordered revised so as to include negroes. Verdicts render* I 
were often set aside. In the Criminal Court. S. J. Boney w\- 
convicted of stealing a horse and sentenced to death, an act of v 
the Legislature of 1867 making this offense punishable ; 
death.- 31 ' General Sickles set aside the verdict. 00 On another 
occasion a negro was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced 
to be branded, but Sickles again interposed. The Chairman of 
the County Court was notified that "Whipping or maiming 
the person'' as a punishment was prohibited by the Department. 
Interference in these cases was probably justified because of 
the severity of the punishment., but, in the April Term, 1867. of 
the Criminal Court, Sickles set aside all verdicts rendered, 
which was certainly extreme and uncalled for. 61 


A paper on reconstruction in New Hanover County would 
not be complete without a discussion of government affairs in 
Wilmington. At one time General Canby removed the muni- 
cipal officers and placed in their stead a commission composed 
of radicals, and Wilmington for a while had arbitrary rule 
under a commission form of government. Even after the 
War, Wilmington was not yet recognized as a city. It was 
referred to as "The Town of Wilmington." 

At the time of the fall of Fort Fisher in 1865, John Dawson, 
a prominent banker and business man, was Mayor. The 
Board of Aldermen was composed of H. Von Glahn, J. G. 
Burr, W. H. Lippitt, W r . A. Wright, S. D. Wallace, Eli 
Murray, Alex Adrian, and W. S. Anderson. 62 Upon the in- 
stitution of the Provisional Government, so far as is known, 
these same officers exercised municipal functions in so far 
as these were not taken over by the military authorities. 
These officers served subordinate to the military and were 
really a "Provisional Commission. " The Provisional Govern- 
ment expired January 1, 1866, and, in order that the town 
should not be without officers, a bill was passed in the Legis- 

59 Public Laws of North Carolina, 1866, ch. 62. 
80 WUminatan Journal, August 5, 1867. 
91 Ibid., Mav 1, 1867. 
82 Ibid., April 2, 1865. 

Reconstruction in New Haxover County 97 

*e t ) continue the Provisional Committee until city officers 
were elected. 63 

About this time a movement to secure a city charter for 
Wilmington began. 04 Civic pride was behind the movement. 
The "City of Xewbern," the "City of Raleigh," and others 
were smaller than the "Town of Wilmington/' and vet they 
seemed to have a prestige by virtue of their municipal titles. 
In February. 1866, a bill was introduced in the Legislature to 
charter Wilmington as a City. Its population at this time was 
about 18,000. Mr. E. D. Hail, Senator from New Hanover, 
was active and secured its passage in both Houses of the Legis- 
lature on February 1, 1865. ° 5 At first, opposition arose as it 
was thought the charter would increase the taxes, but it was 
pointed out that no new office would be created and hence this 
argument was untenable. The charter provided for the crea- 
tion of four wards, two Aldermen to be chosen from each. 
The Mayor was to receive a salary of $2,000. The Mayor and 
Board were to be elected, and these were to appoint the other 
officers. The Chief Marshal and Assistant were to be ap- 
pointed. The offices of Town Collector and Chief of the Fire 
and Police Departments were merged into that of Marshal. 
The Sheriff of the County was to hold an election ten days 
after he received a certified copy of the bill. A property 
qualification was placed on the Mayor and x\ldermen. The 
Charter was submitted to the people March 9, 1866, and 
passed with a vote of 358 to 240. At the time of the submis- 
sion of the Charter to the people, municipal officers were voted 
on. Dawson headed one list and A. H. Van Bokelen the 
other. The latter ticket triumphed by a vote of 352 to 240. 
Aldermen elected were S. D. Wallace, R. J. Jones, J. G. Burr, 
J. H. Ryan, O. G. Parsley, W. H. Lippitt, W. A. Wright, and 
A. E. Hall. General Robert Ransom was chosen City Mar- 
shal and T. W. Anderson City Clerk. Gn Van Bokelen con- 
tinued in authority until December 18, 1866, when Dawson was 
again elected Mayor with practically the same Board. The 
new regime held power until July, 1868. The condition of the 

Jbid., January 24, 1865; also Laws of North Carolina, 1866, ch. 21. 
Ibid., January 16, 1866. 
Private Laws, 1866, ch. 2. 
Wilmington Journal, March 10, 1S66. 

98 Historical Papers 

City was very discouraging. Crime and disorder prevailed, and 
maintenance of order was the chief problem. The task was 
severe. In August, 1867, a highway robbery organization 
discovered,, in which several policemen were implicated. Those 
in authority, however, were exhonerated. This incident illus- 
trates the difficulty of enforcing order. 

The City was heavily in debt and the treasury very much 
depleted. Xo definite figures are obtainable. 07 The "Town of 
Wilmington bonds'*' had been taken up by a new issue upon the 
incorporation of the City. These bonds were to be paid in 
stated inst ilments. July 1, 1S6S. the coupons of the new issue 
fell due and were taken up to the extent of $6,000. The valu- 
ation of City property in January. 1367, was $3,291,635. In 
May, 1868, the Board of Aldermen levied taxes at a rate which 
was one-quarter per cent higher than that of 1860. As to the 
final disposition of the City debt no information could be 

Another City election occurred in July. 1868. prior to 
this, on December 19, 1867. General Canbv had been petitioned 
to remove the city officers.'^ The only objection to them was 
that they refused to place negroes in office, which demand 
was made in the latter part of 1867. By order oi Canbv, the 
municipal offices were closed May 1, 1867, and a new set of 
officers were appointed as follows : Mayor, J. H. XeiT. a radical 
scalawag. William Teller, negro, James Wilson, scalawag, E. 
R. Brink, carpetbagger. G. H. Jackson, negro, L. G. Estes, 
carpetbagger, Silas Martin, scalawag, G. R. French, scalawag, 
G. W. Price, negro. "° For some reason, the papers did not 
say much about the occurrence. This commission ruled, or 
rather misruled, Wilmington for only about one and one-half 
months. An election took place July 15, 1868. In this election 
there were two distinct elements. A thorough organization of 
the radicals, composed of negroes, scalawags, and carpet bag- 
gers, had been developing for some time. The radical ticket 
had been drawn up six months before the election. This was 

67 Letter from Silas U. Martin, mayor in 1871, to Hon. Toe E. Stevenson, 
states ihe debt in 1868 was $525.000. — Wilmington Journal. May 10, 1371. 

M Hie writer could not gain .\i_ce>s to a .thoritative sources on the city's i:t:anc:ai 

:>r.iraton Journal, December JO. i<^7. 

'•" ibid., May 31, 1868. 

Eecoxstruc-tiozs- iv >, i;w Haxovei; County 90 

called by the opposing party the "Gin- Fawkes Junto" ticket, 
and proposed the following for office. Mayor, J. H. X'eit ; Al- 
dermen, j. C. Klein, E. M. Shoemaker, J. H. Chadbourne, and 
G. Z. French. 71 There were no negroes among them but all 
were carpetbaggers and scalawags. Opposing this line-up was 
the. Citizens ticket headed by W. W. Harris. The latter 
triumphed in spite of the radical's boasted strength and in 
spite of a black registration of 2.052 as against 1.142 whites. 
The reason for the defeat of the radical ticket was that the 
negroes were learning that their interests were with those of 
the Southern people,, and they refused to be bossed by carpet- 
baggers and scalawags, or rather that is the reason assigned by 
the newspaper of the period. Neft received only three white 
and twenty-three colored votes. But the officers elected were 
not permitted to serve, for Governor Holden came to the 
rescue of his radical friends, and on July 28. 1S68. presumably 
under the power of "An Act in Relation to Municipal Affairs," 
he appointed as Mayor, XefT. and a> Commissioners, Henry 
Kuhh scalawag, William Kellog, negro, James Wilson, scala- 
wag, E. R. Brink, carpetbagger, G. Z. French, scalawag, G. W. 
Price, negro. D. Rumley, carpetbagger, and Lawson B. Rice, 
carpetbagger."- Their appointment was illegal for the Act 
read "In the absence of any contrary provision, "etc. How- 
ever, the city officers surrendered because they thought re- 
sistance would be prejudicial to the City. So on July 30, the 
City affairs were turned over to NefT and his associates. The 
new Board at once reorganized a police force, replacing whites 
with negroes, and proceeded to fill other offices with scalawags, 
carpetbaggers and negroes. Disorder was the ordinary condi- 
tion. NefF, of course, was incompetent, and this condition pre- 
vailed until the re-establishment of the state government. 


The outlook for the development of New Hanover County 
in 1865 was very discouraging. In general, four factors were 
responsible: the havoc played by the epidemic of yellow fever 
during the war, the number of the heads of families who were 
killed in the war, ravages of war. and industrial paralysis. 

* Ibid., July 15, 1868. 
"-Ibid., July 28, 1868. 


100 Historical Papers 

The county had been pretty well stripped by the soldiers, even 
the church bells in the city of Wilmington were taken by the 
Yankees. 73 War always leaves devastation in its wake. Rov- 
ing negroes committed depredations, and, first and last, de- 
stroyed much property. There were practically no industries ; 
farms were abandoned, and great stretches of land remained 
uncultivated. Of a total area of farm lands of 448,549 acres, 
395,624 were uncultivated in 1865, and the lumber, cotton, and 
naval stores business was for a time practically shattered. 
Even those industries and farms in operation were seriously 
hampered by a lack of labor. Over 10,000 slaves were set free 
by the outcome of the War. The negroes' idea of freedom was 
freedom from work. They congregated in the City of Wil- 
mington and there became a source of much trouble. The pop- 
ulation of New Hanover County in 1870 was 27,978, and the 
City of Wilmington contained nearly half of this. 

There was much disturbance in Wilmington, but the first 
iiot in the County took place at Topsail Sound on November 
27, 1S65. 74 Three negroes and two whites were killed and 
others wounded. The trouble started when a negro mob under- 
took to rescue from the officers one of their number who had 
committed theft. This incident shewed the necessity for or- 
ganization among the whites, and in December following a 
militia company for local defense was organized under the 
leadership of Captain Robert Radcliff, an ex-Confederate sol- 
dier. The negro majority in New Hanover County at this 
time was about 10,000, and the task of controlling it proved 
baffling. Reports of crime in all parts of the County were fre- 
quent. Wilmington was the center of disturbance. From 
1865-68 there were no less than ten riots of serious propor- 
tions. Crime was of daily occurrence. For instance, in the 
month of May, 1868, there were committed seventy offences, 
fifty-six of which were larceny and the remainder of a more 
aggravated nature, ranging from arson to criminal assault. Of 
the offenders seventeen were white and sixty-three negroes. 75 
The record of this month is by no means extreme but is 
merely typical of conditions. As early as 1866 a work house 

n Ibid., May 15. 1865. 

74 Ibid., November 29, 1865. 

75 Ibid., Tune 1, 1868. 


was provided for the purpose of handling criminals. In 1867 

an organization known as Regulators who made depradations 

on property and stole cattle and horses was unearthed. The 
charge was made that the radical County officers were impli- 
cated but this was not sustained. 

This condition of strife necessarily caused much suffering 
in addition to that due to the ravages of war, the devastation 
of disease, and industrial paralysis. In the years 1866. 1867, 
1868, the crop production was only one-fourth of the normal 
yield. Provisions were scarce and prices high. Wood was 
from $8.00 to $10.00 per cord. Pork sold for twelve cents per 
pound on foot. Rent in Wilmington for a modest dwelling 
was $500.00 per annum. These are merely illustrations. 
Household groceries were sufficiently high as to surpass the 
level of the present high price era. Sanitary conditions were 
very bad. There was a smallpox epidemic among the negroes 
in February, 1866, and in that month 452 cases in the City 
limits were reported. 76 The Medical Society made an heroic 
effort and rendered good service. In 1868 Canby ordered that 
negroes discharged for voting contrary to the wishes of their 
employees were to be supported at the public expense. This 
put a premium on idleness and swelled the number of the un- 
employed. The order also provided for additional poor taxes, 
thus showing one method of relieving distress. From 1865 to 
1868 over $9,000 of the tax payers' money was spent for this 
purpose. 77 The Freedmen's Bureau rendered practically no 
service, and constant interference on the part of its officers 
served only to obstruct the work of other authorities. In 1868, 
Thaddeus Stevens presented a resolution in Congress, with a 
memorial from the City attached, instructing the Appropria- 
tion Committee to bring in a bill directing the Freedmen's 
Bureau to advance $75,000 to the City of Wilmington on the 
bonds of that City for the purpose of relieving distress. The 
loan was authorized, but I have not found if it was ever 
negotiated. Another agency in this work was the Ladies 
Benevolent Society. Just the amount of its activity cannot be 
determined. The City authorities co-operated with this or- 
ganization. In July, 1868, the Board of Aldermen ordered 

" {bid., March 1, 1866. 

'• ibid., January 2, 1868. 

102 Historical Papees 

that . not ovei $100.00 per month be paid to t\ 

president of the Society, Mrs. Kennedy, to be used for char - 
table purposes. 78 A Court of Wardens for the Poor was 
established, and, in 1867 it was ordered that fines and iicense v 
fees be applied for the relief of the poor. It is impossible 
approximate the amount of work accomplished by these vari : u 

In connection with the economic phase of reconstruction in 
New Hanover, a word or two must be said relative to the 
Bankrupt Law which went into effect March 2. 1867, an; : 
extent to which its provisions were taken advantage of. The 
law i r .: ! that any one owning at least three hundred acres 
of land could get the benefit of the law. A deposit of fifty 
dollars must be made with the Register of Bankruptcy to cover 
the cost of application, and additional fees raised the expense 
to nearly $100.09. A separate statement of both assets and lia- 
bilities had to be made and sworn to preliminary to the appli- 
cant's being declared bankrupt. His creditors then met and 
appointed an assignee to dispose of the estate. The law pro- 
vided the bankrupt could be allowed an exemption of S400.00 
in property, clothing, and other effects allowed by the state 
law at first. 79 Mr. A. W. Rieger was Register in Bankruptcy 
for Xew Hanover and Brunswick Counties" Air. W. A. 
Guthrie was appointed to the position for the judicial district, 
of which Xew Hanover was a part, in 1868. He came to Wil- 
mington in 1868 and in January of that year as many as fifty 
persons were declared bankrupt.^ 1 By June of the same year 
fifteen additional applications were granted making a total of 
sixty-five for the county. There was some justification for 
people going into bankruptcy. They had contracted debts on a 
basis which counted slaves as property. Xow this valuable 
asset was destroyed. Furthermore, real estate had very con- 
siderably depreciated, and this prevented debtors from being 
able to meet their obligations. 

Another problem of note was that of labor. Industrial para- 
lysis was in part due to an overturning of old labor conditions. 
Xecessarily improved conditions could only be obtained through 

: - r ig Star, ] y 12, 1868; Eve Dispatch, J uly 13, 1S68. 

Conversation with Major W. A. Guthrie. 
Wilmington Journal, January 23, 1663. 

Reconstruction in Xew Hanovee County 103 

.1 reaUjusViu&ut oi labor. Regarding house-servants much need 
not be said. In addition to the work of the Freedmen's Bureau.. 
carried on on a small scale in New Hanover County, a sort of 
house-wives' league was organized to solve the problem. Prac- 
tically all accomplished was to require certificates as to the 
fitness and character of the applicant attested to by previous 

Negroes left the farms; quite a number emigrated from 
Mew Hanover to the cotton states. In order to obtain a labor 
supply efforts were made to induce immigration. In January, 
1867, a County Agricultural Society was formed whose pur- 
pose was to solve the labor question. 82 Dugald McMillan was 
chairman, and he, together with S. S. Satchwei! and B. R. 
Mason composed the Executive Committee. Subsidiary dis- 
trict societies were organized also. In July, 1867, the minutes 
of the meeting of the Spring Garden Agricultural Club showed 
a definite step toward encouraging immigration. 83 In August, 

1867, the minutes of the Topsail Agricultural Society showed 
that there were thirty-two coolie laborers in New Hanover 
County A A The Southern Immigration Society, a national or- 
ganization, had an agency in Wilmington during 1867, and 

1868. For 1868, Mr, Bontfort, an agent of the Company, fixed 
the wages of immigrants at $8.00 to $10.00 per month for 
the first six months, and $10.00 to $12.00 thereafter. He also 
suggested that an Immigrant Aid Society be established. In 
January, 1868, a County Immigration Society was organized, 
and a committee was appointed to report on labor conditions 
with recommendations as to steps to be taken. 8 " In June, 
Mr. Van Sickle of New Jersey came to New Hanover in the 
interest of immigration. At the meeting of the Society in the 
same month, a plan embracing four methods of inducing im- 
migration was suggested : ( 1 ) the County should obtain about 
ten thousand acres of reasonably compact land; (2) this 
should be let out at low and attractive prices, making use of 
credit methods; (3) means of communication with prospective 
settlers must be devised; (4) quick means of transportation 

"* ibid^, January 1, 1867. 

•■••• July 27, 1867. 
' j '■, August 1, 1867. 
ibid., January 21, 1368. 

104 Historical Papers 

should oe provided. St> The work actually accomplished is un- 
certain, but the scheme was partly successful. Private con- 
cerns also attempted to encourage immigration. As early as 

1865, F. \V. Foster and Company opened an office in Wil- 
mington for the purpose of inducing immigration. In January, 

1866, this Company caused to be brought to New Hanover 
thirty-seven German laborers. 87 

In order to get. labor, farmers adopted the plan of having 
negro criminals bound out to them, and they would pay the 
cost of the cases. Nothing much was said of this practice for 
it would have been regarded in the North as a species of 
slavery. 8S The result of importation of labor, the utilization of 
negroes through the process above referred to, and the work of 
the New Hanover Agriculture Society in teaching methods of 
farming assisted greatly in bettering conditions. In 1868 the 
General Assembly passed an act incorporating the Cape Fear 
Agricultural Society. Its work was not confined to the county, 
hut the Society had for its object the betterment of Agricul- 
ture throughout the Cape Fear section. S9 

The farms of New Hanover County averaged about eighty 
acres, 90 less than in 1860. The transformation from the plan- 
tation system to the small farms, which was one of the re- 
sults of the war, was taking place, and this accounts for the 
increasing small size of the farms as compared with those 
before the war. The principal products were cotton, crude 
turpentine, spirits, tar, lumber, hogs and a few cattle. Below 
are inspectors reports for 1866-1867 and 1867-1868. In 
1866-1867: cotton 12,454 bales; crude turpentine, 91,588 
barrels ; spirits, 44,990 barrels ; and tar, 25,644 barrels. In 
1867-1868: cotton 12,094 bales; turpentine, 125,654 barrels ; 
spirits, 75.473 barrels; tar, 25,988 barrels. 01 It will be 
noted that there was an increase in production of all staples 
except cotton, and in spite of better labor facilities the 
production of that article fell off about 500 bales. This 
was due to the cotton tax of two and one-half cents levied 

* 6 Ibid., January 21, 1868. 

87 Evening Dispatch. January 16, 1366. 

98 Coaversatiori with Major Guthrie. 

w Laws, 1868-9, ch. 199." 

'** That is, if the number of acres in improved farm land be taken as the ba: 

91 Wilmington Journal, March 10, 1863. 

Reconstruction m New Hanover County 105 

by the National QMer$ment. This amounted to a tax from 
twenty to thirty per cent and had to be paid upon the market- 
ing of the crop, The effect o.f this tax was to cause the 
farmer to abandon to a certain extent cotton culture. Its 
baneful effect was soon seen, and after continued efforts on the 
part of the business men all over the country it was repealed 
in 1868. As early as December, 1866, the legislature of North 
Carolina passed a resolution authorizing the Attorney General 
to test the legality of the tax. 

Trade conditions of Wilmington were not in the best condi- 
tion. In the latter part of 1866, the Wilmington Chamber of 
Commerce was incorporated for the purpose of bettering condi- 
tions. 92 Commerce was carried on by a line of steamers be- 
tween New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and Wilmington. 
But much of the Carolina business as in the days of old went 
to Norfolk and Charleston. Railroad fares out of and into 
Wilmington were excessive. An effort was made to have them 
reduced as it was claimed that better rates would enable busi- 
ness men to reach out for trade. The railroads finally ac- 
ceded to the request, and an appreciable change for the better 
gradually became evident. Freight rates were also reduced, and 
shipments of cotton began to be made from South Carolina 
and Georgia. 93 Before the War there had been a little direct 
trade with Europe. An effort was made to revive and en- 
large this. As early as February, 1866, business houses began 
receiving shipments from Europe. But this was hampered by 
strict quarantine regulations, and did not amount to much 
until a much later date. However, in this period, the founda- 
tion was laid for the present valuable trade, and here many 
of the present business houses of Wilmington had their be- 

The scarcity of money was one of the prime causes for un- 
wholesome trade relations. The condition of Wilmington 
banks was not conducive to confidence and hence banking 
facilities" were bad. They finally closed their affairs in accor- 
dance with an act, by which they were allowed to file bills in 
Courts of Equity for the benefit of depositors. 94 Individual 

J Private Laws, 1866-67, ch. 72. 

™ Wilmington Journal, June 12, 1868. 

M Private Laws of North Carolina, 1366, cb. 3. 

106 Historical Papers 

bi okci'i Jold exchange on New York. Boston, and other cities. 
Brokers also bought notes on those cities. But these meager 
banking facilities were insufficient. There were alternate 
periods of depression, and merchants had to wait for shipments 
from other cities. 93 Need of a national bank was recognized 
and an effort was made to have it established but it did not 
materialize during the period of our study. 


In discussing the politics of New Hanover County during 
the time of reconstruction, there appears a greater uniformity 
with general state affairs than is the case in the social and 
economic phases. County politics was hardly more or less than 
a reflection of state issues. 

The first act of the national administration upon the fall of 
the Confederacy was to institute some sort of government for 
the recalcitrant states. The scheme known as Presidential Re- 
construction was begun on 3. lav 29, 1865 when President 
Johnson issued his amnesty proclamations pardoning certain 
classes who had espoused the Confederate cause and appoint- 
ing W. W. Holden as Provisional Governor of North Caro- 
lina. Holden was authorized to call a convention which should 
provide a republican form of government for the state and re- 
establish relations with the Federal Government. A procla- 
mation by Governor Holden on Tune 12, 1865, stated his policy 
and called upon the loyal people to aid him in establishing a 
government. He at once went to work appointing justices of 
the peace who administered the amnesty oath and provided for 

The political subdivisions of New Hanover were the pre- 
cincts. Of these there were fourteen, of which the Wilming- 
ton precinct was the most important since it contained the 
most important town of the County. Wilmington was also the 
County Seat. The lack of sources prevents a thorough con- 
sideration of the politics of the several precincts, but in general 
the main tendencies can be traced. 

All told there were fifty-five magistrates appointed for 
New Hanover by Provisional Governor Holden. A deal of 

* 5 Wilmington Journal, January 1, 1866. 

Reconstruction in New IIanovek County 107 

'trouble arose here, as elsewhere, in reference to trie removal of 

disabilities. However, the preliminaries for calling a convn- 
tion having been complied with, Governor Holden on August 
8, 1865, issued a proclamation ordering the election of delegates 
for a convention to meet October 2, 1865. No issues of great 
importance were brought to the front in the campaign. The 
election in Xew Hanover was quiet and orderly. In fact, the 
period from the cessation of hostilities till the latter part of 
1867 was very quiet politically and not until that time did 
party lines become so marked as to cause much strife. 

The convention met in Raleigh, October 2, 1865. The 
New Hanover delegates to the convention were O. G. Parsley, 
S. S. Satchwell, and William Freeman. 00 Among the meas- 
ures taken up was the abrogation of the ordinance of seces- 
sion, an ordinance repudiating slavery and the institution of 
state and local government. It was provided that these ordi- 
nances be submitted to the electors, and state and local officers 
were to be elected at the same time. The New Hanover dele- 
gates were in favor of the ordinances, for the result of the war 
practically assured their adoption. 

The election provided for took place on November 9, 1865. 
The candidates for Governor were W. W. Holden and Jona- 
than Worth. Issues in this election, both as regards state and 
county affairs, were obscured by the personality of the candi- 
dates. Worth was elected Governor by a majority of 5,937 out 
of a total of 60,000. In New 7 Hanover County he received 
693 votes, while Holden polled only 76. :,T The vote on the or- 
dinances was much smaller. In New Hanover the ordinance 
prohibiting slavery was carried by a vote of 118 to 96; that re- 
pealing the ordinance of secession carried by a vote of 142 to 
66. 98 Despite Worth's majority, President Johnson request- 
ed Holden to continue to act as Governor, for he regarded the 
election as being a victory for the anti-union element of the 
state. But in December, 1865, he was notified to turn over 
the affairs of the state to Governor Worth when he should 
have become qualified. 

Lack of continuity in the newspaper files prevents an ac- 

Wilmington Journal, November 29. 1865. 
* 'Daily Dispatch, November 10, 1865. 
m Ibid., November 10, 1865. 

108 Historical Papers 

curate account of county affairs prior to 1867. • However, 
some in formation, detached though it may be, can be had. In 
the election of November 9, 1865 E. D. Hall was elected 
Senator from New Hanover, and R. H. Cowan and J. R. 
Hawes were chosen Representatives. County officers elected 
were Samuel Bunting, Sheriff; R. B. Wood, Clerk of the 
County Court ; and H. A. Bagg, Clerk of the Superior Court. 09 
An effort to find out the official registration, vote, and ma- 
jority in this election proved unsuccessful. According to the 
newspapers these latter officers were regarded as de facto offi- 
cers, and hence their acts were without legality, but the Legisla- 
ture which met November 27, 1865, validated their official acts 
and formally approved the revival of county government. The 
officers mentioned remained in office till August 2, 1868. 

The convention met again in May, confronted with the 
task of forming a state constitution, which would be acceptable 
to the national administration. By this time opposition to its 
taking action had developed, but the work was undertaken, 
and finally a constitution drafted. Without going into a dis- 
cussion of its provisions, it will suffice to say that it was sub- 
mitted to the people August 2, 1866, and was rejected by a 
majority of 1.982 out of a total of 41,122. In New Hanover 
County the constitution was rejected by a vote of 585 to 70. 100 

The next political movement, the effect of which is notice- 
able on county political affairs, was the meeting of the Loyal 
Union Convention at Raleigh on September 20, 1866. This 
convention favored the Fourteenth Amendment, criticized 
Governor Worth, and after declaring that only loyal union 
men should hold office, nominated Alfred Dockery to oppose 
Worth. Here a radical organization, which was the beginning 
of the Republican Party in North Carolina, began, and from 
this time on glimmerings of a radical organization in New 
Hanover are noticeable. No appreciable interest was attached 
to the campaign which followed, and Worth was re-elected by 
a majority of 23,496. New Hanover County polled 498 votes 
for W r orth and returned only two for Dockery. 101 

From this time on party lines came to be more and more 

99 Ibid., November 11, 1S65. 

im Worth, MSS. Letter-book, p. 1S3. 

101 Daily Dispatch, November 15, 1866. 

Reconstruction in New Hanoveb County 109 

The "". )rganization in North Carolina, 

mposed of carper bagger-, scalawags, and negroes, became 
very active. The year 1867 opened up with a campaign in 
which the issues were based on the alleged alarming condition 
in the stare. Gradually a conservative organization grew up 
in response to the arracks of radicalism and the state came to 
be regarded as being divided into radical and conservative sec- 
tions, the easr being regarded as the rebel section, while the 
west was looked upon as the stronghold of unionism. 

As Xorth Carolina had rejecred the Fourteenth Amend- 
ment in the latter part of 1866. it had not yet been recognized 
as a state in the Union by Congress. The policy of prese- 
dential reconstruction was in this respect a failure — in that it 
did not establish normal relations with the Federal Govem- 

2. 1867. an act "to provide a more 
the rebel states" was passed and the 
reconstruction acts placing Xorth Carolina under military au- 
thority were applied. 102 General Sickle- was assigned lo the 
Xorth Carolina command, and he immediately declared the 
State government provisional. The general trend of his policy 
in so far as Xew Hanover was affected has been previously 
noted. On August 26, 1867 General E. R. S. Canby succeeded 
him and in general he continued the policy of his predecessor. 
Among other things he provided rules of registration and 
ordered an election to be held November 19 and 20. 1867, at 
which the calling of a convention to organize the state govern- 
ment was to be voted upon. There was a good deal of dis- 
cussion as to the removing of disabilities, qualifications of 
electors, etc... but finally the registration was completed. The 
returns showed that Xew Hanover was one of the nineteen 
counties that had a negro majority. Mention has been made, 
of the beginning of a radical organization in the state. This 
organization now received a noticeable impetus, and on March 
27, a convention under the domination of the Holden men met 
at Raleigh, with the ostensible purpose of deciding upon meas- 
ures to restore the state to the Union, but in reality to effect 
a more perfect organization. 1 ' 1 ' 3 New Hanover County was 

'-.. Reconstruction in North Carolina, p. 197. 
Hamilton, Reconstruction in Xorth Car. oa. 

110 Historical Papers 

represented by General Joseph C. Abbott, carpet bagger, S. S. 
Ashley, carpet bagger, and A. H. Galloway, negro. 104 From 
this time on the radicals' cause in New Hanover went forward. 
Among their leaders were General Abbott, a northern man who 
had come to Bladen County and thence removed to Wilming- 
ton, S. 5. Ashley, a white- man from Cape Cod who at one 
time was State Superintendent of Public Instruction. A. H. 
Galloway, a native of Wilmington, and D. L. Russell of 
Brunswick, who in 1895 became Governor of North Carolina.. 

This radical organization called forth activity among the 
conservatives of the state. Conservative organization began 
the latter part of 1867 and measures were at once taken in 
Xew Hanover County to further its interests. The growth of 
the County organization dates from December 12, 1867, when 
the County Executive Committee called a conservative meet- 
ing. 1 '' 5 Three days later the conservative party was formally 
launched. An Executive Committee, composed of J. A. Engel- 
hard, J. R. Hawes. S. S: Satchwell, J. J. Hedrick. James Reiley, 
Sol Bear, and Thomas H. McKoy, was chosen. At the same 
time O. G. Parsley. S. S. Satchwell, and William Freeman were 
appointed to represent Xew Hanover 1 " 6 in the State Conser- 
vative Meeting to be held in the near future. There also 
sprang up Democratic clubs in all parts of the County and in 
Wilmington there was a colored Democratic Club. Among 
the Conservative leaders were A. M. Waddell, lawyer, writer, 
and patriot, and George Davis, a native of Wilmington who 
had been Attorney General for the Confederate States. 

The election to be held November 19 and 20, 1867 was for 
the purpose of calling a convention to frame a constitution. 
In Xew Hanover the result was in favor of the radicals, and 
J. C. Abbott. S. S. Ashley, and A. H. Galloway were chosen as 
representatives. Xeither of these had ever paid a single cent 
of taxes in Xew Hanover County. In this election the colored 
people cast their iirst vote. The total vote of Xew Hanover 
was 4,009, with 2,928 for the convention and 1,847 against 
it. 107 

It is not within the scope of this paper to discuss the work 

104 Wilmington Journal, March 26, 1367. 

108 Ibid., December 12, 1867. 

lM Ibid., December 15, 1867. 

m Wilmington Journal, November 22, 1867. 

I?EcoxsTRrcTiox ix New Hajstover County 111 

. ■■ ■" f( iti of 1868. It formed a constitution and took 

measures to restore the state to civil government by providing 
for the election of State and County officers. The constitution 
was adopted by the Convention and submitted to the people. 
In respect to County affairs it placed the government in the 
hands of live commissioners to be elected by the people. A 
Register of Deeds and Treasurer from each county were pro- 
vided for. Each county was to be divided into townships 
which were to elect two justices bi-ennially. i0S 

In 186S the Conservative candidate for governor was 
Thomas S. Ashe, while W. W. Holden was the Republican 
nominee. On April 21, 22, 23, the election was held, in which 
the constitution was accepted by a vote of 93,086 as against 
that of 74.016; and Holden was elected Governor by a vote 
of 92,235 as against 73,594 in favor of Ashe. The New Han- 
over vote was 3 511 in favor of the constitution and 2,235 
against it and 3,568 for Holden to 2,231 for Ashe. 100 

h\ July. 1868, an election for county officers was held in 
New Hanover County. Practically the same officers were re- 
tained under the new constitution, and the radical element was 
in charge of the county affairs. The County Commissioners 
were: E. M. Shoemaker. Rufus Garriss, Stephen Keys, Elijah 
Hewlett, and James Wilson. As Sheriff J. W. Schenck, Jr., 
was chosen, and he replaced Samuel R. Bunting. B. S. Wal- 
riron was elected Register of Deeds and R. B. Wood remained 
Clerk of the County Court. As regards the office of Sheriff, 
there was a dispute. Bunting claimed Schenck's election was 
obtained by fraud and refused for a time to yield. Schenck 
appealed to the Governor, and finally Bunting gave up the 
contest. The radical element was now dominant in New Han- 
over. The county gave almost continuously Republican ma- 
jorities until 1900. 


The Wilmington Journal, 1862-1872. 
The Evening Dispatch, 1867-1872. 
The Morning Star, 1866-1870. 

Hamilton, Reconstruction in North Carolina, p. 251. 
'Daily Dispatch, April 24, 1863. 

(BU B— m wt>ih mm mmmmmmmmmmmma 

112 Historical Papers 

Executive Correspondence — MSS. Letter-Books of Go 1 
ernors Vance (1862-1864), Worth, and Holden. 
Census of the United States, 1860-1870. 
Waddell — Some Memories of My Life. 
Reports of the Comptroller of North Carolina. 
Rebellion Records. Series I, Vol. 51. 


Waddell — History of New Hanover County. 
Sprunt — Tales of the Lower Cape Fear. 
Hamilton — Reconstruction in North Carolina. 


: T SS i ..: SSSS Sg?:;:::.'":: ; 

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■• .vTrii^s-«,^t'*u*v 



Historical Papers 

Published by the Trinity 
College Historical Society 

Series XII 

19 16 

The Seeman Printer* 

Durham, N. C. 




Prefatory Note 4 

Slavery in Edgecombe County — James K. Turner 5 

Methodist Expansion in North Carolina After the 

Revolution — William K. Boyd. i ..... , 37 

Gates County to 1860— Isaac S. Harrell 56 


The authors of two papers here published, Mr. Turner and 
Mr. Harrell, are students in Trinity College. For valuable 
criticisms of their work acknowledgment is due Mr. R. D. W. 
Connor and Mr. Marshall Haywood, of Raleigh. The sketch 
map on p. 56 was kindly furnished by Mr. W. F. Eason„. 
Surveyor of Gates County. 

Wm. K. Boyd, 
For Committee on Publication, 
Nov. 22, 1916. 




By James K. Turner 


Slavery existed in Edgecombe County from its earliest 
-days. Before the grant of the Carolina charter to the Lords 
Proprietors, settlers came from Virginia into the Albemarle 
section, and it is reasonable to believe that the first African 
slaves were brought in by them at their migration. African 
slaves, however, were not the only type of slavery in Edge- 
combe. There were Indian slaves, who had become so on ac- 
count of crime, or of sale by some of their own race as captives 
taken in war. The colonial records tell that captive Indians 
were carried up Tar River and worked in the turpentine in- 
dustry. 1 

There was yet a third class of bondsmen, the unfortunate 
class of whites who had been indentured in England, and sent 
by their masters to the colony. Many such servants were also 
apprenticed by the courts of the province or had been kid- 
napped in England, brought over and sold, or according to an 
act of Parliament, had been transported to the colony and 
sold for crime, for a term of years, to the highest bidder. It 
is practically impossible to ascertain the exact date when this 
sort of servitude came to Edgecombe, but there are several ex- 
amples of its existence. When the Reverend George Whir- 
field made his tour of eastern North Carolina in 1765, 
visiting Edgecombe County, he had with him a white servant. 
The Colonial Records inform us that St. Mary's Parish, Edge- 
combe, had several of these servants to support, because of in- 
firmities and old age. The law regarding indentured servants 
provided for release of such servants having a good behavior 

* Edgecombe is one of the large counties of eastern North Carolina. It was 
chartered in 1741. This studv of Slavery in Edgecombe was awarded the South- 
ern History Prize in June, 1916.— Wm. K. Boyd. 

6 Historical Papebs 

and fruitful service. It is obvious that there must have been 
instances in which masters gave the freedom to their servants 
before their time expired, although we are unable, through 
lack of preserved records, to recite any cases. From the evi- 
dence of the reports of St. Mary's Parish we conclude that in 
times past such a system of servitude was extensive. 

The system of negro slavery had practically the same origin 
as the indentured system, that is, the slaves were brought into 
the colony by the masters from Virginia and elsewhere. A 
farmer settling in Edgecombe County usually brought one or 
two slaves with him, or he would buy about that number as 
soon as he was able. Either from natural increase or from 
importation from Virginia — the latter being the more 
probable, because it is known as early as 1665 that slaves were 
brought to the Albemarle region from Virginia — there was 
from the first a steady growth in the number of slaves. 

To settle a new plantation without negroes was considered 
a hopeless task 2 and, although we have rare information on 
this point, it suggests that the importation was considerable. 
We do not know how many came or under what circumstances 
they lived in the early periods, but when the later movements 
of immigration came from Virginia about the middle of the 
eighteenth century or perhaps a little earlier, and filled up the 
counties of Edgecombe, Halifax, and Northampton, it was in- 
evitable that this immigration ceased. 3 

By order of Governor Burrington and council the new set- 
tlers had the right to receive fifty acres of land for each slave 
he brought with him. 4 This privilege is embodied in the in- 
structions to Governor Burrington in 173Q, 5 in those to Gov- 
ernor Dobbs in 1734, and in those to Governor Tryon in 
1735. Governor Johnston said in 1735 that he knew of no 
such instruction. The leaders of the colonists declared that 
such had been the custom. It was finally decided to drop the 
custom, but how long this was enforced does not appear. 6 Sev- 
eral persons proved their rights to land on this account, con- 
sequently the number of slaves that first came by act of im- 
portation was considerable. 7 

The county in its earliest history increased in population 
very slowly, and consequently it is impossible to estimate the 

Slavery in Edgecombe County 7 

number in the first twenty-five years of the existence of 
slavery. 8 In 1730 when Governor Burrington was asked to 
report on the conditions of the Royal African Company in 
North Carolina, he replied that up to that year the trade had 
been small. This proves that foreign importation did not 
flourish, and the planters were suffering because the natural 
increase was not sufficient. Governor Burrington added that 
under the existing condition, the colonists had been "under 
the necessity of buying the refuse, refractory and distempered 
negroes brought from other governments," whereas it would, 
he did not doubt, be an easy matter to sell a ship load of good 
negroes in almost any part of the province. 

However in Governor Johnston's administration the land 
policy of the Crown encouraged slavery. That policy was to 
require the cultivation of six acres of each hundred granted 
within three years after the patent was issued. Consequently 
free labor became scarce and high. This opened the way for 
a more extensive use of slaves. 

The conditions of foreign importation may be seen from 
the fact that in 1754 only nineteen negroes were entered in 
the custom house at Bath, and that the average number 
brought into Beaufort for the preceding seven years was six- 
teen. 9 It is likely, however, that an additional number were 
brought in without paying duty, since the custom houses were 
very loosely kept. 

The relaxation of the restrictions in cultivation gave rise 
for a new immigration, and from 1775 to the Civil War we 
find a record of a steady flow of negroes into Edgecombe 
County. 10 

In 1709 the Reverend James Adam, a missionary of the 
church of England, wrote from an adjoining precinct n that 
there were in the county 1332 souls of whom 211 were negroes. 
About one-sixth of the whole population then in 1709 were 
black. In 1754, forty-five years later, we have the first census. 
The clerks of the several counties, by instruction, made a re- 
turn to the governor of all the taxables in their respective 
counties. The number of blacks reported was 624 and whites 
1160.' 1 - This gave an increase over the year 1709 of 413 

8 Histosical Papers 

slaves and a few whites, the ratio of the increase being two 
to one in favor of the negroes. 

There was some dispute as to the accuracy of this census, 
since Governor Dobbs pronounced it defective. The people, 
he said, were holding back their taxables or negroes. The 
error could not have been great, for when a year later he him- 
self ordered a more correct return of the total number of 
negro taxables, they were the same as in 1754. 

Still another census was made in the same way in 1756, 
when 1,091 negro taxables and 1764 whites were reported, 
showing an increase of about 167 negroes and 514 whites over 
the preceding year. It must have been that the increase of the 
negroes was from births, since Dobbs in 1761 said that but few 
people had come in bringing slaves since the French and In- 
dian wars. This sudden change and growth of the white popu- 
lation may be attributed to a heavy immigration of white fam- 
ilies who came to settle in the fertile bottoms of Fishing and 
Swift creeks. Elisha Battle, with several more prominent men, 
came to Edgecombe between 1740 and 1760 and bought 1,212 
acres of land from Mr. Sanders and settled with his family. 

Another census made in 1766 gives the number of both 
white and black taxables as 2,066; there being no distinction 
between white and black we are without means of ascertaining 
the exact number of negroes in that year. It is to be noted, 
however, that there was a considerable decline of population 
compared with that of previous years. 13 In 1767 both slaves 
and whites had decreased in number. There were 1060 slaves 
and 1,200 white taxables, making a decrease of twenty-nine 
slaves and over 330 whites. This was due to the fact that 
in 1757, a year after the census in 1756 was taken, Halifax 
County was formed as independent county from Edgecombe. 
This county, as can be seen from the maps, included several 
slave-holders in the bottoms of Fishing Creek. There must 
have been a heavy increase of slaves, considering the popula- 
tion Halifax took from Edgecombe when the two counties 
were divided. 

In 1790 we have a notable increase of slaves and a small 
increase of whites. There were in the county 1260 heads of 
families. Of these only 481 owned slaves, and only 27 families 

Slavery in Edgecombe County 9 

owned twenty or more slaves. Four men owned a consider- 
able number: Edward Hall 86, Absolom Benton 40, Lewis 
Ervin 36, and Josiah Ford 86. Seventy-five families owned 
less than 20 and over 10, and a hundred families owned less 
than 10 and over 2. Ninety-nine owned 2. while 79 families 
owned only one slave. The entire white population is here 
reported for the first time. There were 3,152 slaves and 
6,933 whites, an increase of 2,092 slaves over the year 1767. 
Since we have no account of the entire white population prior 
to this census, no definite comparison of the increase can be 
given, but it will be a safe estimate to say it was of a ratio of 
three to one. It was during this great increase also that Nash 
County was formed from Edgecombe in 1777, taking with it 
a liberal portion of population. 

In 1800 the^e was a decrease of 417 whites from the pre- 
vious census of 1790, and an increase of 753 slaves. It is to be 
noted that the year 1800 indicates the general trend that made 
Edgecombe a slave county, and finally marked her as being 
one of the great black counties of the South. Never again does 
the census bring the total population of whites up to the num- 
ber of blacks. There never were many free negroes in the 
county. The census of 1800 gives the first returns of free ne- 
groes, 106; in 1860, the last census, there were only 389. 

By 1830 the white and black population was almost equal, 
the negroes having a slight majority. In 1840 a sudden leap, 
as if some mighty forces had shot servitude to the forefront, 
ran the number of slaves to 15.708, or over twice the number 
of whites. There is only one solution for this great increase — 
cotton had a sudden boom when the new invention, the cotton 
gin, came to be used in the early years of the nineteenth cen- 
tury. It is nothing but right to say that in the early days of 
the county many earnest men looked upon slavery as an evil 
that would in time disappear; but with the invention of the 
cotton gin, Edgecombe as nature so placed her, became a 
great center for cotton growing. It was then discovered by her 
people that slavery was a ''natural institution/' and the only 
relation that could exist between the whites and the blacks, and 
together with the entire South, Edgecombe began to force the 

10 Historical Papers 

political parties to assume a positive and uncompromising de- 
fense of these propositions. 

In 1850 the tide slightly changed, and number of slaves de- 
clined, because men of Edgecombe had begun to go southwest 
in search of new lands, carrying their slaves with them. It is 
noticeable that the largest number of sales of slaves in Tar- 
boro were made betwen 1845 and 1850, which indicates a tend- 
ency to purchase negroes for western farming. 

The last census before the liberation of the slaves, that of 
1860, shows that there were 10,108 negroes in bondage and 
389 free negroes, and a population of 6,789 whites. Slaves had 
increased nearly 2,000 in number and the whites had decreased 
nearly 1,500 in number since 1840. 

These are the official returns, and therefore constitute our 
only means of knowing with any degree of certainty how many 
negroes there were in the county. Unsatisfactory as they may 
be, they nevertheless indicate a tendency which is not wholly 
uninstructive — namely a system which brought Edgecombe 
ultimately into a slave and, then immediately after the Civil 
War, a negro regime. 


The law concerning slavery in Edgecombe was varied and 
extensive for new conditions demanded new changes in the 
law. Law never succeeds unless it corresponds to the par- 
ticular needs of the age in which it exists ; consequently we 
need not be surprised at the alarming number of peculiarities 
in the legislation concerning slavery. They had a particular 
purpose and function then that similar laws today would not 
have. It may be noted in the beginning, however, that most 
laws about slaves were passed to protect the master and not 
the slave. 

In addition to the laws of the province there were local 
regulations made by the County Court of Edgecombe. The 
earliest of these was in 1741. It declared that "no person what- 
soever, being a Christian or of Christian parentage — imported 
or brought into the precinct shall be deemed a servant for any 
term of years" unless by indenture or agreement. We have 
been successful in finding so far only one example of this rule 

Slavery in Edgecombe County 11 

being taken advantage of by the dependent classes. Forty-odd 
years after it was made, in 1788, Samuel Williams, who must 
have been of low English descent, bound himself to George 
Patterson for 99 years as a servant without permission to, 
leave his master, and to obey all the commands given to him. 
for food and clothing. 14 

According to the same ordinance, if the servants binding 
themselves thus should become disobedient or unruly, they 
might be carried before a justice of the peace and sentenced 
to not more than twenty lashes ; if they ran away and were re- 
captured, they were to serve double the time lost. Moreover, 
the ordinance also provided that if any person should "pre- 
sume to whip a Christian naked," without an order from a 
magistrate, such person should forfeit forty shillings proclama- 
tion money to the party injured. Servants by indenture had 
the privilege to carry complaints to magistrates, who might 
bind masters and mistresses "to answer the complaint at the 
next county court." If any master discharged his servant 
while sick, before the servant's time of service expired, the 
county court was to levy on the master for enough to enable 
the church warden of the parish to care for the sick servant 
until death or recovery. If the servant recovered, he became 

The law of servants was considerably more lenient than the 
law of slaves. In 1753 we find an ordinance forbidding any 
slave to go armed with any weapon of defense or to hunt in 
any manner unless he should have a certificate from his 
master. The servants enjoyed this privilege. Later this right 
was restricted by another ordinance which forbade any justice 
of the county to give permission to any slave to carry a gun 
or hunt in any form unless the slave's master or mistress went 
on a heavy bond laying themselves liable for damages for 
any persons injured thereby. No slave was allowed to carry 
a gun on a plantation where a crop was not cultivated, and in 
case of cultivation, only one slave had the privilege. 

In order to see that such restrictions were carried out the 
justices of the county court divided the county into districts, 
and yearly at the first court appointed freeholders in each 
district, duly sworn as searchers. The searchers examined 

12 Historical Papers 

the slave quarters for weapons four times a year or more as 
they thought necessary. As an inducement to this office, the 
searchers were exempted from serving as constables or upon 
the roads, or in the militia, or as jurors, and did not have to 
pay any provincial, road, or parish tax. 

November 28, 1803, after a threatened uprising of the ne- 
groes in eastern North Carolina, the regulations concerning 
searchers were expanded into the patrol system by the quarterly 
session of the Court of Pleas at Tarboro. The patrollers were 
to conform to rules and regulations, one copy of which was to 
be furnished to each and every district. During the time they 
were engaged the patrolmen were to be exempted from the 
same duties as the searchers. But if one should neglect 
or refuse to act, he had to forfeit and pay the sum of ten 

The rules and regulations to be observed by the patrolmen 
of the several districts in Edgecombe County were without a 
doubt very strict. They provided for the patrolmen to go by 
night and at such times as they thought would answer the ob- 
ject of their appointment, to all the houses inhabited by slaves 
within their respective districts once every month or oftener 
if necessary. Any guns or fighting implements found in any 
of the houses or in the possession of a slave, or in any place of 
concealment, were to be seized and presented to the county 
court. Reports were made in writing, specifying the time and 
the place where the person or persons in whose possession or 
care they were found. If any circumstances indicated danger 
to the peace or safety of the colony, attending the finding, the 
patrolmen apprehended the slave or slaves on whom suspicion 
rested and carried him before some justice of the peace to be 
dealt with as the law directed. If the patrollers found any 
slave during night or day more than one mile from the house 
or the plantation in which he lived, without a paper in writing 
or some other strong convincing evidence of leave or orders 
from his owner, overseer, or employer, they or any two of 
them were permitted to inflict punishment, according to the 
opinion they entertained respecting the design of the offender, 
not exceeding ten lashes. On any slave they found behaving 
in a riotous or disorderly manner whether at or from home, 

Slavery in Edgecombe County 13 

with or without written papers, they or any two of them' 
might inflict punishment according to the circumstances of the 
case, not exceeding fifteen lashes, provided they were of the 
opinion that such riotous or disorderly behavior did not pro- 
ceed from a premeditated design to disturb the public peace. 
But when they saw or knew of a riot or other disorderly be- 
havior among slaves indicating danger to the peace or safety 
of the State, they might take and use all necessary- and proper 
means to apprehend the offenders, and after having appre- 
hended them, they, without inflicting any punishment other 
than was necessary to their safe keeping, carried the slaves 
before some justice of the peace who dealt with them according 
to law. 

It is to be understood and at all times remembered that the 
object of patrolling was to prevent public mischief without 
creating private injury and, therefore, a slave found from home 
by day or at an early hour of the night without papers, but 
behaving in orderly and peaceable manner and having in his 
possession something known to belong to his master, overseer 
or employer, as a horse or an ox, or seeming to be engaged in 
the performance of some duty to the person to whom he owed 
obedience, was not necessarily punished or unreasonably re- 
strained. The patroller or patrollers finding a slave in such 
situation went with the slave to his owner to know whether 
the story told by such a slave was true or false, and if false. 
then severe punishment was inflicted. 

Since some owners, overseers, and employers of slaves 
were not capable of writing, it was further provided that a 
negro man of good moral character and peaceful demeanor 
was not to be punished for a mere act of going without a writ- 
ten paper on Saturday night to see his wife at a house of good 
fame, where he had long been accustomed to go with the con- 
sent of his master or mistress, overseer or employer, or with 
an order of illness by a doctor. 

In 1807 new rules were adopted by the quarterly session of 
Common Pleas in Tarboro. The patrollers were required to 
call on the master, mistress or overseer as the case might be, 
for the names of their slaves from twelve years of age and 
Upwards. The slaves were enrolled on a list provided and 

14 Historical Papers 

kept for that purpose. Each succeeding time they went through 
their districts, the patrollmen called the names of the slaves 
that they had collected, and if any were missing or absent be- 
tween the hours of 9 o'clock at night and 6 o'clock in the morn- 
ing or on the Sabbath day, the patroller called on the master or 
mistress of such slave as was absent to know whether he 
were gone on business or by their special permit or knowl- 
edge; if neither was the case, the slave was adjudged guilty of 
the same crime and liable to the same punishment as if caught 
without permit from home. The older negroes tell how they 
were accustomed to line up for the roll call when the patroller 
came to the plantation. 

Frequently a disagreement would arise between the master 
and the patroller with respect to the punishment of the slaves 
caught away from home. It was then the duty of the patroller 
to order the master or the mistress of the slave to bring him 
before some justice of the peace at a time and place which 
he might appoint. Whenever the master refused to comply 
with this demand, the patroller would apply to some justice of 
the peace for a warrant for such slave or slaves to appear be- 
fore him or some other justice of the peace to be examined and 
tried for offense, in which case the cost according to law was to 
be paid by the owner of the slave. 15 

It can be said, without treading on the radicals' feelings or 
imposing on the abolitionists' sympathy, that the law concern- 
ing slavery was both good and bad. In some instances the 
slave was protected by local ordinances enacted by the In- 
ferior Court. This is illustrated by the prevention of whipping 
slaves who professed Christianity. 

In 1715 an act prohibiting private burial places was passed 
by the colonial assembly and later enforced in Edgecombe 
County. The frequent occurrence of several mysterious 
deaths led the Assembly to provide that every planter, at- 
torney, and owner of every settled plantation should set apart 
a burial place, and fence the same for interring all such Chris- 
tian persons, whether bound or free, that should die on the 
plantation. What traveler in passing through Edgecombe 
County is not, today, greeted with scores of little graveyards 
afar off on the hill extending from the farm mansion? This 

Slavery in Edgecombe County 15 

is the system left from the early period of slavery and of a con- 
sequence from this law. 

As a matter of precaution, there were, before the interring, 
three or four neighbors who were required by law to view the 
corpse, and ascertain whether the person came to his or her 
death by any violent or unlawful means. If such was the de- 
cision of the viewers, it was to be reported to the coroner. A 
penalty of rive shillings was imposed on any one who refused 
to come and view the corpse. Moreover, if any persons dying 
were buried contrary to the law, the person or persons oc- 
casioning the same were forced to forfeit and pay the sum of 
ten pounds, one-third of which went to the informer, one- 
third to the Lords Proprietors, and the other one-third to the 
poor. This law, of course, excluded such cases in which it 
was the desire of the deceased when in his or her life time to 
be interred elsewhere.. This law no doubt did much to pre- 
vent unnecessary slaying of the negro slaves. 

The most lenient law made by the Assembly affecting 
slaves was made in 1753. In case a slave did not appear prop- 
erly clothed and fed, and was convicted of stealing corn, cattle 
or hogs -from any person not his owner, the injured person 
could maintain an action against the master and recover dam- 
ages, and the slave remained unpunished by the law. This law, 
however, did not prevent the slave from being chastised by his 

The law gave some liberty prior to the year 1800 that the 
slave was not to enjoy afterwards. No servant could be 
whipped, who professed to be a Christian, on his or her bare 
back. On the other hand we find many instances where the 
law forbade slaves to leave the plantation, and they were re- 
fused the right to raise horses, cattle and hogs — chickens being 
the only fowl allowed, and in statute of 1777 we find it un- 
lawful for any slave in the county to grow tobacco for his own 
use under the penalty of five pounds current money for every 
five hundred hills so cultivated, which was to be recovered from 
the master or overseer. Yet the slave was not treated as a 
beast. On the eve of the Revolutionary War a more humane 
law protected the slave from wilful and malicious killing. 
After May 5, 1774, any person found guilty of a premeditated 

16 Historical Papers 

act of wilful murder of his slave was to be tried by the same 
law and the same hue was imposed as if the slave had been a 

During the Revolution the slaves in various sections of 
the county took the opportunity of becoming- free. Masters, 
especially Loyalists, were freeing their slaves, and to such an 
alarming extent that a law was passed by the Assembly on 
November 12, 1777, forbidding a master to free his slave ex- 
cept for meritorious service, and then at such times only as the 
county court allowed the decision and gave a license of good 
faith. There are a few instances where the slave owners were 
debarred from freeing negroes by this law. 10 

Occasionally through the graciousness of the master a slave 
was freed irrespective of the law, and the negro took chances 
for his freedom by hiding in the swamps and numerous reed 
marshes in the county. This gave the slave dealers opportun- 
ities to recapture negroes and sell :hem again, when the poor 
slave was so unfortunate as not to find one to plead his case. 
Many trading vessels made frequent trips up the Pamlico and 
Tar Rivers, bringing various commodities of interest to the 
negroes and finally enticing them away from their hiding 
places under profession of friendship. English traders came 
up Tar River under a pretext to trade with the slaves in order 
to decoy the hidden negroes away. A law was passed by the 
Assembly preventing the Englishmen from trading with 
slaves or carndng them away. In 1791 a law was passed to 
prevent the merchant or trader to harbor or trade with any 
slave under any pretense. This no doubt prevented the ne- 
groes from hiding and also from being carried off and resold. 

In many instances the slaves in their attempt to get away 
from the county forged passes. The Assembly made it pun- 
ishable by death for a slave to attempt such methods of escape. 

The slave who was set free without being adjudged and 
allowed by the court of the county and license issued, after an 
expiration of six months, was taken up by the church wardens 
and sold as a slave at the next court at public outcry, and the 
value of the slave was given to the poor. There are three cases 
where the negroes were sold at the Tarboro courthouse in 
1800. It is not known how much the poor received, however. 

Slavery m Edgecombe County 17 

In 1781 an ordinance permitted the masters to rent their 
slaves out by public auction to the highest bidder for any 
term not exceeding one year. Regular hiring days held in 
January were established at the courthouse in Tarboro. Fre- 
quently men who had large estates consisting of negroes pro- 
vided in their wills for the slaves to be hired out and the money 
paid over to their widows for a continuous income. There 
are several instances in which negro laborers were rented at 
the Tarboro courthouse. The average price about 1800 ranged 
from $150 to $200 a year for men, and $65 to $90 for women. 
By 1856 prices had increased and advanced from the time 
the custom began. Negro men hired for $165 to $200 a 
year — plow boys and women from $100 to $125. In 1859, a 
year later, the price increased considerably over 1858. 
Corn field hands, girls from 8 to 10 years old, brought 
$25 to $30; 10 to 12 years old $80 to $85, while boys from 
15 to 18 years brought $180 to $202. Men brought unheard 
of prices, varying from $175 to $250. 17 All this personal prop- 
erty was put in a heap together and bidden off as public ser- 
vice. 18 But one remembers that the first law applying to 
slaves was a clause in the Fundamental Constitution giving 
every freeman an "absolute power and authority over negro 
slaves of what opinion or religion soever." 19 

The manner of trying slaves in colonial days was very in- 
teresting with respect to the method of economizing time. A 
slave committing an offense, crime, or misdemeanor was com- 
mitted by the justice of the peace to the ''common goal of the 
county/' and the sheriff of the county upon the committment 
certified the same to the justice of commission of the county 
court. The justice issued a summons for two or more jus- 
tices of the court and four freeholders, such as had owned 
slaves in the county to constitute a court. The three justices 
and the four slaveholders were authorized and required upon 
oath to try all manner of crimes and offenses that were com- 
muted by any slaves at the courthouse of the county, and to 
take evidence and confession of the defender on the oath or" 
one or two creditable witnesses or such testimony of negroes 
or mulattoes bond or free, with circumstances that were con- 

IS Historical Papers 

vincing to the justices and to the slave owners, without the 
'"'solemnity of a jury." 

In order to try slaves, when the offense was of a small and 
usual nature, and to prevent delay and great loss of time and- 
expense to the owners, a law. as an act for remedy, was 
passed in 17S3. This law provided for all justices to have the 
power to issue subpoenas, if necessary, to compel the attend- 
ance of witnesses and to proceed immediately upon the trial of 
any slave and to pass sentence and award judgment; provided 
however, the punishment extended no farther than the ordering 
of the defendant to be whipped not exceeding forty lashes. 

Any justice of the peace of the county, who was an owner 
of slaves, was qualified, irrespective of moral integrity, and pro- 
nounced fit by the court to act as a member of the county 
court though he or they should not be summoned thereto. The 
law was emphatically stated by the phrase "anything before 
contained to the contrary, in any wise notwithstanding." 

Christian character was an important element in slavery. 
It made the slave more desirable and it also influenced the 
courts and masters to show leniency to the slaves and to treat 
them with more mildness and gratitude. In case a slave was 
not a Christian, it was produced as evidence on the trial against 
him for capital and other trials of crime. He was charged 
very severely and placed under greater obligation to tell the 
truth. It was, therefore, declared by an act of the Assembly 
in 1741 as a source of protection against perjury, that v. 
any negro or mulatto, bond or free, should upon due prooi 
made or "pregnant circumstance," appearing before the count) 
court, be found to have given a false testimony, he was, with* 
out further trial, to have by order of the court one ear nan,. I 
to the pillory, and stand in this position for the space or on : 
hour, and then have the same ear cut off, and the other ear 
nailed in the same manner and cut off at the expiration oi 
one hour, and moreover to have thirty-nine lashes well I 
on his or her back at the common whipping post. As a meth 
of prevention of false testimony the chairman of the com 
charged each negro or mulatto in capital cases before hi 
her testimony, on not being a Christian, to tell the truth. 

Slavery m Edgecombe County 19 

There was a case about 1771 and also another in 1825 in 
which a negro man called Siman was given a mild sentence 
according to this law. For false testimony he was branded in 
the palm of his right hand with a hot iron and imprisoned in 
close jail for twelve months. 20 

The most noted case in the history of slavery in Edgecombe 
and also the greatest in the entire State was that of State vs. 
Will. The trial was held by Judge Donnell in the circuit court, 
January 22, 1834. It was a case that awakened a general and 
profound interest throughout the country and influenced the 
legal relation between the master and his slave in North Caro- 
lina. It recognized the right of the slave to defend himself 
against the assaults of his master in the preservation of his 
own life — a right never asserted heretofore in the county. 

A slave, Will, was indicted for the murder of Richard 
Baxter. Will belonged to James S. Battle, and the deceased. 
Richard Baxter, was the overseer of Mr. Battle, and was en- 
trusted with the management of the slave at the time of the 
homicide. Early in the morning of the 22d day of January, 
the day the killing took place, Will had a dispute with another 
slave, Allen, who was also a slave of Mr. Battle, and a fore- 
man on the same plantation of which the deceased was an 
overseer. The dispute arose between Will and Allen about a hoe 
which Will claimed as his own because he had helved it in 
his own time ; but Allen directed another slave to use it on 
that day. 

Some angry words passed between Will and the foreman, 
and Will broke out the helve, and walked off about one-fourth 
of a. mile to a cotton screw and began packing cotton. Soon 
after the dispute Air. Baxter, the overseer, was informed of 
what had occurred. He immediately went into the house, and 
his wife was heard to say, "I would not, my dear," to which 
he was said to have replied in a positive tone of voice, "I 
wili." In a very short time after this Mr. Baxter went from 
the house to the place where the foreman was, told him that 
he was going after Will, and instructed him to take his cowhide 
and follow at a distance. Mr. Baxter then returned to the 
house, took his gun, saddled his horse, and rode to the screw. 

20 Historical Papers 

a distance of about six hundred yards, where Will was at 

The overseer came up within twenty or twenty-five feet 
of the screw without being observed by the slave, dismounted, 
and hastily got over the fence into the screwyard. He walked 
directly to the cotton screw, gun in hand, where the slave was 
standing, engaged in throwing cotton, and ordered him to 
come down. The slave took off his hat in an humble manner 
and came down. Mr. Baxter spoke some words to Will, which 
were not heard by any of the three negroes present. The slave 
immediately began to run. He proceeded about fifteen steps 
when the overseer fired upon him, sending the whole load into 
the negro's back. 

The wound caused by the shot was sufficient to have pro- 
duced death, but the slave continued to make off through a 
field, and after retreating about 150 yards in sight of the over- 
seer, was pursued by two slaves directed by Mr. Baxter, who 
said, "He could not go far." The overseer himself, laying 
down his gun, mounted his horse, and having directed his fore- 
man, who had just come up, to pursue the prisoner also, rode 
around the field and headed off the wounded slave. Mr. Bax- 
ter soon dismounted and pursued the negro on foot, and as soon 
as the slave discovered he was blocked, he changed his course 
to avoid the overseer, and ran in another direction towards 
the woods. The overseer, however, soon overtook him and 
collared him with his right hand. In the meantime the ne- 
groes ordered to pursue the slave came toward Will and 
the overseer. 

They were ordered by Mr. Baxter to seize the wounded 
slave. One of them attempted to lay hold of the negro, who 
had his knife drawn, and the left thumb of the overseer in 
his mouth. When the slave came up, Will struck at him with 
his knife, but missed him and cut the overseer on the thigh. 
In the scuffle which followed between Will and Mr. Baxter, 
the overseer received an ugly wound in the arm. 

Soon after the overseer let go his hold, the slave ran to- 
wards the nearest wood and escaped. Mr. Baxter did not 
pursue the slave, but he ordered the negroes to do so, but soon 
recalled them. When they returned, Mr. Baxter was sitting 

Slavery ix Edgecombe County 21 

on the ground bleeding, and as they came up, the overseer said, 
"Will has killed me; if I had minded what my poor wife said, 
I would not have been in this fix." 

In addition to the wound on his thigh, Air. Baxter had a- 
slight puncture in his chest about skin deep, and a wound about 
four inches long and two inches deep on his right arm above his 
elbow, which was inflicted by the slave. The loss of blood oc- 
casioned the overseer's death, and he died in the evening of 
the same day. In the meantime, the slave went to his master 
and surrendered himself and the following day was arrested. 
When the negro was informed of the death of the overseer he 
exclaimed, "Is it possible?" and appeared to be much affected 
by the report. 

The case was called by the court. The jury hesitated to 
pronounce Will guilty 7 of felony and murder according to the 
indictment specified and charged against him by the court. 
The jurors were altogether ignorant of the law, since there 
was no precedent in the case. They requested the advice of the 
court upon the matter. In the meantime, Judge Donnell claim- 
ed the slave was guilty of '" feloniously killing and slaying" 
Mr. Baxter, and pronounced the sentence of death from the 
special verdict which had been made by the jury. The slave 
appealed to the Supreme Court. B. F. Moore, one of the most 
famous pleaders of the North Carolina bar, then living on 
Fishing Creek, interceded for Will and defended his case in 
the Supreme Court. It was conceded that Baxter occupied 
the place of master, and, in his capacity of overseer, was in- 
vested with all the authority of owner, in the means of render- 
ing the prisoner subservient to his lawful commands. With 
this concession freely made, it was believed that if the shot 
of Mr. Baxter had proved fatal, he would have been guilty 
of murder, and not of manslaughter. The instrument used 
and the short distance between the parties were sufficient to 
produce death, and nothing but the want of malice could have 
deprived the act of any features of murder. 

It was then shown that Baxter had loaded his gun and 
proceeded to the cotton screw with the intent to shoot the 
slave if the latter should run. It was clear then that if Bax- 
ter's shot had been fatal, he would have been guilty of murder 

22 Historical PapEks 

and not of manslaughter. This was evident from his whole 
conduct and particularly so from his directing the foreman to 
walk behind at a distance. If he had armed himself for de- 
fense, expecting a conflict with the prisoner, he would have 
summoned aid and kept men at his command ready for en- 
counter. It became evident to the defendant's mind that the 
purpose of the shooting had actually been formed and time 
had been given him for reflection. The argument by Mr. 
Moore on behalf of Will was therefore as follows: first, that if 
Baxter's shot had killed the prisoner, Baxter would have been 
guilty of manslaughter at the least; second, this position being 
established the killing of Baxter under the circumstances re- 
lated was but manslaughter on the part of the prisoner. 

The public mind, however, was perverted by opinion in 
the county that any means might be resorted to in order to 
bring about the perfect submission of the slave to his master's 
will, and that any resistance to that will, reasonable or unrea- 
sonable, lawfully placed the life of a slave at his master's feet. 
Mr. Moore attempted to draw the line, if there was any, be- 
tween the lawful and unlawful exercise of the master's power 
in Edgecombe County-. 

The decision in the case of State vs. Mann 21 was used as 
a precedent. This case left the slave zuhen his life was spared 
under the slender guardianship of the "frowns and execrations" 
of a moral sentiment against cruelty. Judge Henderson, who 
rendered the decision fixed the true boundary of the master's 
power. "It extends," he says, ''to securing the service and 
labors of the slave, and no farther." He furthermore de- 
clared that a power over the life of the slave was not sur- 
rendered by the law because the possession of such a power 
is always necessary to the purposes of slavery, and that his 
life was in care of the law. Therefore, said Mr. Moore, the pre- 
vious law, which declared the relation of master and slave, and 
had been practiced in Edgecombe since its formation, should no 
longer cover the entire relation between master and slave. On 
the contrary the idea of perfect submission of the slave was 
in accordance with the policy which should regulate condition 
ot life, whenever it existed. 

Slavery m Edgecombe County 23 

It is safe to say that Mr. Moore did not, however, argue 
so much from the point of law — which if it had been inter- 
preted literally would have been decidedly against him — as 
he did the force of an opinion developing in the court, which 
was contrary to the use of absolute power. Indeed the courts 
of the country reflected this opinion and so fostered an en- 
lightened benevolence. When we view the proceedings of the 
early courts and the sentiments of the people, we cannot but 
help admitting that while the courts were lauding the Chris- 
tian spirit of the times, manifested by the humane treatment 
of the slaves, they were engaged in investigating to what pos- 
sible extent the master might push his authority without in- 
curring civil responsibility. 

From this viewpoint Mr. Moore made his plea one of a 
moral nature. "I am," he said, "arguing no question of ab- 
stract right, but I am endeavoring to prove that the natural 
incidents or slavery must be borne with because they are in- 
herent to the condition itself ; and that any attempt to restrain 
or punish a slave for the exercise of a right, which even abso- 
lute power cannot destroy, is inhuman and without the slight- 
est benefit to the security of the master or to that of society 
at large. 

"If," continued Mr. Moore, "the deceased had been resist- 
ed, a great degree of force might have been used, and the law 
would not have been scrupulous in determining the excess. If 
he had been chastising the prisoner in the ordinary mode and 
death had ensued, it would have been nothing more than an 
unfortunate accident. But the prisoner was neither resist- 
ing the master nor did the calamity grow out of an attempt to 
chastise. It is confidently contended that a master has not by 
law of the land the right to kill his slave for a simple act of 
disobedience, however provoking may be the circumstances 
under which it is committed ; that if a slave be required to 
stand and he run off, he has not forfeited his life. This is con- 
clusive, if the law will never justify a homicide except it be 
committed upon unavoidable necessity, and will excuse no one, 
except it be done by misadventure or se defendendo. There is 
no principle of criminal law which will justify or excuse the 

24 Historical Papers 

death that has been caused through the provocation of the 
passion alone." 

Moreover, it was shown by Mr. Moore that the prisoner 
was shot in the act of making off from his overseer, who was 
prepared to chastise him. A master's authority to apprehend 
the slave was conceded by the court not to be greater than that 
of a constable or a sheriff to arrest for misdemeanor ; and a 
constable could not kill in order to prevent an escape of one 
guilty of that kind of offense. The law had such a high re- 
gard for human life that it instructed the officers to permit 
an escape rather than kill. If the officer acted illegally, by 
abusing his authority or exceeding it, resistance unto death 
was not murder. Consequently, if the master had greater au- 
thority to apprehend his slave than a law officer had to arrest 
under a precept for a misdemeanor, he surely did not have a 
greater authority than a sheriff, acting under a precept, had to 
arrest a felon. Here the law again showed ics deep regard 
for human life and its hesitation to kill a felon, a murderer, or 
traitor unless his ecape be inevitable. "And in every instance 
in which one man can be justified in killing another, the abuse 
of his power -makes him guilty of manslaughter." Thus an 
officer who had the right to kill a felon in order to prevent his 
escape was guilty of manslaughter when the escape could have 
been prevented by more lenient means. This necessity remain- 
ed to be proved, said Mr. Moore, for it was never to be pre- 
sumed. No such necessity appeared in the finding of the jury. 
In legal contemplation, therefore, it did not exist. 

The prisoner was thus looked upon as in an act of disobe- 
dience and not resistance, between which there was a vast dif- 
ference. The deceased then must have exceeded his authority 
according to the evidence and the defendant was guilty of man- 
slaughter only. The slave simply slew his overseer, after having 
been dangerously shot, pursued and overtaken. The tamest 
and most domestic brute would doubtless have done likewise. 
Was the victim now to be a sacrifice offered to the policy which 
regulated the relation of slavery among our fathers? May 
we say that the momentum of feeling, acting through the juries 
of the county and the spirit of the Supreme Court at Raleigh,, 
indicated that the interests of society were at stake and de- 

Slavery in Edgecombe County 25 

inanded a permanent settlement of the extent of a master's 

By a timely and judicious administration of the law, in re- 
lation to this subject, the Supreme Court by releasing Will did 
much to form a sounder public opinion by liberating the slave 
from the charges of murder. The legal condition of the slave 
was greatly advanced for the negro and the whites were now, 
by the decision returned in Will's case, placed under the very 
same law. 21 Will returned to his master and served him until 


A very interesting phase of the slave system in the county 
was the method of ascertaining the age and value of the slaves. 
Whenever a slaveholder was desirous of learning the age of 
his slave, 22 he carried the slave before the grand jury con- 
vened at the county court and the court pronounced the age 
of the slave. 

Quite frequently slaves were slain both accidentally and pre- 
meditatedly. In either case the slayer if detected was responsible 
to the owner for the value of the slave killed. Men who were 
familiar with certain slaves were summoned as a jury to 
estimate their value. George Sugg, a farmer living in the 
eastern part of the county, was called upon in 1806 to estimate 
the value of a slave killed upon an adjoining farm. The 
slave was a runaway and belonged to Mr. Mace. He was 
robbing the citizens in the vicinity of Little River, now Fishing 
Creek, when William Mace, a manager for his father, went 
in search for the slave. Mr. Mace tarried at Little River ap- 
proximately five days, but not finding the slave was about to 
return home. On his way back he visited the slave quarters 
of Mr. Toole, a slave owner, in the night. A light was observed 
within, but it was put out in a moment. Mr. Mace went in 
and blowing up a light saw the slave, Tom, and recognized 
him. The slave, on being discovered, attempted to escape. 
Mr. Mace called to him to stand, threatening to shoot him if 
he did not, but the slave ran, upon which Mr. Mace fired. It 
was the design of Mr. Mace to shoot over the negro's head in 
order to frighten him, but some of the shots hit and killed 

26 Historical Pap'ers 

him instantly. The court passed the opinion that the negro 
was worth fifty pounds. 

In the valuation of a slave, his behavior and power of work- 
manship were always taken into consideration by the courts. 
Our record of the prices of slaves is very incomplete. In 1785 
John Ford sold one negro man to Jeremiah Hilliard for 180 
pounds. 23 In 1788 one negro boy about eight years old sold in 
Tarboro for forty-five pounds, or $203. 25. ~ 5 Joseph Buns 
sold a negro woman in 1788 for 60 pounds to John Dew 
and at the same time a negro girl, 16 years old, was sold to a 
Virginia planter for 90 pounds. A year later negro boys 
about sixteen or seventeen years old sold for 120 pounds each. 

In 1790 John Dew sold a negro woman back to Buns for 
50 pounds.- 5 Girls about eleven years old brought 70 pounds 
in the slave market in Tarboro in 1790. These are some 
of the estimates of slave prices in the early history in 
the county. Later slaves brought 100 pounds per head. 2 '* 
Richard Blackledge, of Tarboro, sold a negro boy about thir- 
teen to sixteen years, four feet, eight inches high, for 200 
milled dollars. 

Halifax traders made frequent trips to Edgecombe for 
slaves to start a slave market. Jacob Barrow, of Halifax, pur- 
chased slaves at Tarboro in 1789 at a normal price of 120 
pounds and in 1792 negro men at the age of forty-five brought 
100 pounds, about the same price as in 1790. 

In 1794 a negro woman and child brought 200 Spanish 
milled dollars, and numerous other negroes brought about 
the same price. 

At the beginning of the nineteenth century slaves brought 
a good price. In 1801 at open court Bennett Barrow, a slave 
trader, sold to John Davidson six slaves, as follows: a 
woman named Millery and her three children named Har- 
mon, Jim, and Molley, and another woman named Nelly and 
a child named Sam for 400 pounds. Some further evidence 
can be obtained from the following figures : in 1803 one negro 
boy sold for S125 current money, another boy sold for 
$475, still another woman and her child brought 400 
silver dollars. In 1770 a negro woman fifteen years old and 
her child sold for $375 and a negro girl ten years old for $13:? 

Slavery in Edgecombe County 27 

current money. We have to consider that physical condition 
and the early cultivation of cotton may have been the reason 
for so many enormous changes in prices. Moreover, the abil- 
ity a slave had for work, trade, etc., determined in many in- 
stances the price of his body. One negro man who was a 
blacksmith and a good workman brought SI. 000 in Tarboro 
in ISIS, and in 1854 a rough carpenter about twenty-three 
years old sold for S2.0OO.- 7 

Toward the middle of the nineteenth century slaves were 
estimated by ''piles" or quantities. The records give an ac- 
count of a pile of negroes as follows: Moll, Suckey, Sally. 
Maria, Molly, Austen. Daniah, one negro woman twenty-three 
years old and infant child, negro girl and negro boy, one negro 
man nineteeen years old. one negro woman and two children, 
and a negro fellow thirty years old. a negro boy fifteen years 
oid, and girl fifteen years old, sold for the sum of S5. 111. 

Another method was resorted to in the estimation of the 
value of slaves. It was not, however, the most accurate one. 
Frequently masters would become short of funds and be un- 
able to pay their taxes promptly, and slaves were sold at pub- 
lic auction at the court house to indemnify the sheriff for the 
taxes of the master. In 183S an incident of this kind occurred 
when a negro girl was sold to the highest bidder for S177. 
Again in 1S43 a negro man was sold to B. F. Moore, of Fish- 
ing Creek, at a public auction in default of taxes for one dol- 
lar.'-^ This was not a fair sample of the value of slaves, and 
must have been primarily to bring the cost of taxes levied. 


The peculiar life of the slave is interesting from the view 
point of character, socially and religiously. Only now and 
then, according to old slaveholders' records, was a slave found 
truthful, faithful, and entirely honest in dealing with labor 
and articles. Cunning and deception were inevitable habits. 
The old trick played on the master by turning a huge pot with 
its mouth upon the floor of the master's residence, in order to 
deaden the noise while the negroes danced, was considered part 
ot the slave's right. It was not fair to expect anything else 
of him. 

23 ■■ Historical. Papees 

The main cause of certain restraints in the slave's liberty 
came in 1859. in the form of John Brown's raid. The press 
began to urge masters throughout the state to curtail the large 
freedom enjoyed by the negroes. Consequently the Edge- 
combe Court passed a regulation forbidding negroes to assem- 
ble in groups between sunset and sunrise. Upon this event 
came the agitation for a new movement advocated by a book 
called '"The Impending Crisis of the South." published in Xew 
York in 1857 by Kinton Rowan Helper, a native of Rowan 
County, but was not widely read until the time of John 
Brown's raid. This book was a compilation of statistics in- 
tended to prove that slavery was an economic curse. In ad- 
dition it contained sentiments usually expected from abolition 
quarters in the North. The slave owner naturally rejected the 
literature and the cause of abolition propagandism. 

The marriage of the slaves was a matter of little ceremony. 
The masters of the contracting parties first gave their consent 
to the union. That being arranged, the groom sought the bride, 
offered her some toy. a brass ring or beads, and if his gift was 
accepted, the marriage was considered made. If the couple 
ever separated, the present was always returned. Separation 
occurred often, and at times against the will of the parties. 
"If the woman bore no children in two or three years." says 
Bricknell, "the planter obliged them to take a second, third, 
fourth, fifth, or more husbands or bed-fellows — a fruitful 
woman amongst them being much valued by the planters and 
a numerous issue esteemed the great riches in the county." 
The children belonged to the owner of the mother, and the 
planter took pains to bring them up properly. 

Although the slaves were permitted to marry among them- 
selves, after 1787 no slave was allowed to marry or cohabit 
with any free negro without permission of the master of the 
slave in writing, and the sanction of two justices of the peace.- 

The slaves showed great jealousy among themselves on ac- 
count of their wives and mistresses. 

The slaves owned by the first settlers were very few. but 
those settlers who succeeded them had large numbers. Ac- 
customed to settling down on little farms on the outskirts or 
civilization, the early farmers found it hard to become ab- 

Slavery in Edgecombe County ... 20 

sorbed into the larger life of a settled community. It has most 
often been their fate to recover from nature a rim of forest 
land, and then giving that up to some "worldly habitant of 
civilized life," move on toward the West. This was a fre- 
quent occurrence in Edgecombe County in the early period. 
Before the county was declared an organized district, and ex- 
isted merely as a precinct, many people who occupied their 
little holdings during the seventeenth century sold them early in 
the eighteenth and sought other lands on the frontiers. The 
newcomers were men of means and usually brought their 
slaves with them. Men like Elisha Battle, Willie Jones, and 
Isaac Sessums and others came to the county with money and 
slaves to buy up the cheap lands. There is one instance where 
a man from Virginia bought eleven adjacent plantations. On 
these plantations on which small farmers had formerly lived, 
there now lived a large planter with his family and a large 
number of slaves. Hence we have a gradual change of the 
social life as this economic process went on. 

The coming of these rich owners mark the change from 
the system of a few slaves to that of many. The same process 
was facilitated in the opening up of the turpentine industry. 
Here the slaves were profitable and large numbers of them were 
taken to the high tracts of long straw pine which lay back from 
the low grounds of Swift and Fishing Creeks and Tar 
River. 30 


There is no phase of the subject on which we have no more 
incomplete and unsatisfactory records than on the subject of 
the religious and social life of the slaves. The early writers 
said that the slaves in the colony, hence in the several counties, 
except in rare cases, were undoubtedly pagans. From all in- 
dications after the introduction of slaves the people seem to 
have been content that they should have remained such. In- 
deed, if we may believe such contemporary evidence that has 
come down to us, the whites did not care much for religion 

The one central fact that led to the indifference to re- 
ligion of the slaves on the part of the whites was the thought 
of the illegality in holding a Christian in bondage. The right 

30 Historical Papers 

and power of enslaving the negro seems to have been based on 
the fact that he was a pagan. If such was the case, would not 
conversion enfranchise him? It was in view of this feeling 
that the Lords Proprietors declared in the Fundamental Con- 
stitution : "Since charity obliges us to wish well to the souls of 
all men, and religion ought to alter nothing in any man's civil 
estate or right it shall be lawful for slaves as well as for others 
to enter themselves and be of what church or profession any of 
them shall think best, and thereof be as fully members as any 
freeman. But yet no slave shall hereby be exempted from 
that civil dominion his master hath over him, but be in all 
things in the same state and condition he was in before." 

This law was a piece of skilful manipulation on the part of 
the Lords Proprietors. It gave an emphatic religious freedom 
to the slave, and at the same time gave a concealed compro- 
mise to prevent an agitation and uprising of the slaves. There 
seemed, however, to have been in spite of this law, a fear of 
allowing slaves to be baptized in a religious rite. The law 
might have been used successfully to protect the planters, 
should a case have arisen over the point in question, and yet 
is left an element of risk in it that made the planters unwilling 
to allow the conversion of the negroes. 

The conditions that followed these circumsttnces are clearly 
seen from a statement of Reverend Charles Edward Taylor, 
a clergyman of the English Church, who on a tour in 1765 
writes that he went to Edgecombe County on a preaching tour 
and did not have much success, there being no minister there 
at that time, the Reverend John Purges, the first English 
preacher in the county, having resigned previously. He baptized 
in three days 159 whites and four black infants. 31 There is 
no intimation in the reports of Reverend M. N. Burges that 
he was ever interested enough in the slave to attempt baptiz- 
ing him. 

In a letter to the Bishop of London, Reverend Mr. Moir 
reports that he had completed the building of the parish church, 
at Tarborough, November 22, 1748, and that he had baptized 
in one day 100 children and dipped two adults. He does not 
mention having baptized any negroes. On April 8, 1760. 
however, he reported having baptized three adult negroes and 

Slavery i^ t Edgecombe County 31 

206 children. From this report Mr. Moir seems to have been 
an arduous worker, but Governor Dobhs attested his statement 
in a letter to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 
January 22, 1760: ,; I wish that your admonition of Mr. Moir 
to have good effect. I observe in his report to you he mentions 
having baptized above 300 white people and fifty negroes in 
one year. I wish that it might be true, as I am informed that 
he does very little duty, but lives on his plantation, not showing 
hospitality as is his duty, and hoarding up money to return 
to England." Mr. Moir in return accused Governor Dobbs of 
being prejudiced agaist him and hindering his work. Governor 
Dobbs' successor, Governor Tryon, however, confirmed Gov- 
ernor Dobbs' statement on a letter dated July 26, 1765, which 
says: "I do not think that the province receives any benefit 
from the Reverend Mr. Moir as an itinerant missionary, for 
under his license to preach everywhere, he seldom preaches any- 
where. I do not represent him as an immoral man, but think it 
would be advisable that he might be fixed to some parish." 

Under these circumstances, where even the whites were 
obviously neglected in spiritual development, what may be a 
conclusion as to the negro's opportunities in moral matters? 

The method of instructing the slave in the religious affairs 
prior to the coming of new denominations was entirely accord- 
ing to the notions of the clergymen, so far as we know. In the 
earliest days the settlers of the county did not put themselves 
to the trouble to try to convert their slaves. In the later period, 
as we shall presently see, they became more interested. Not 
only did the masters prevent the negroes from accepting re- 
ligion, but in 1787 an act of the Legislature prevented any 
negro or mulatto to "entertain any slave in his or her house 
during the Sabbath, during the night between sunset and sunrise 
on penalty of twenty shillings for the first offense and forty 
shillings for each subsequent offense." No assembling of 
slaves was tolerated unless some white man was present. 

When later in the period of slavery the system became 
more mild, the negroes were allowed to join any church they 
might fancy, but they were not permitted to have a church 
organization among themselves. To have one was at once 
against the policy of the English Church and against the senti- 

32 Historical Papers 

merits oi the planters. The planters feared that negro 
churches might become centers of negro conspiracies. 

The Baptists came into the eastern counties at an early 
date. By the middle of the eighteenth century they had become 
strong in the eastern part of Halifax and Edgecombe counties. 
Mr. Burnett, a missionary of the Established Church, said thai 
they allowed negroes to speak at their churches. Their kind 
feeling for the slaves is shown by a reply of the Kehukee 
Baptist Association at Falls Church, to a question asked in 
1783, in regard to the duty of a master towards his slave who 
refused to attend family worship. The answer was: "It is 
the duty of every master of a family to give his slaves liberty 
to attend worship of God in his family, and likewise it is his 
duty to exhort them to it, and to endeavor to convince them 
of their duty, and then to leave them to their choice." 32 

The doctrines of Baptist and Methodist churches appealed 
to the popular mind, and stirred the hearts of the middle, and 
even to a large extent, the higher classes of society. Other 
churches had negro members, but none in such large numbers 
as these. There were several Presbyterians in the county, but 
unfortunately we have no conclusive evidence as to their re- 
lation to slavery. In both the Presbyterian and Episcopal 
churches, the negroes were mostly slaves of the families who 
had their membership there, and consequently were affected 
only in so far as they were servants. 

In all denominations the negroes had equal rights in in- 
struction and communion, but were deprived of participation in 
the operation of the church government. When there were 
only a few negro members, they attended services with the 
whites, and a certain portion of the church, in the form of 
a large gallery, was assigned to them. There are today sev- 
eral old Baptist Churches in the county which retain their old 
galleries over the front entrance for negro worshippers. It is 
not an infrequent sight to see slave time darkies now assem- 
bling in their accustomed places when the First Sunday 
preaching begins. When there was a large number of negroes, 
they were given a separate sermon, usually after the whites 
had dispersed. In the vicinity of one of the Methodist churches 
in the county today, "Temperance Hall," the writer was told of 

Slavery in Edgecombe County 33 

slaves as in the other churches. Sometimes there were special 
gatherings there by the negroes after the whites had gone to 
their respective homes. 

There were only a few negro preachers, and a majority of 
the preaching was done by white preachers. The great influ- 
ence that a preacher exercised over his flock was something 
that the whites very properly would not have surrendered to 
the negro preacher, had they been ever so numerous. 

In 1831 a strict law was passed forbidding the slaves and 
free negroes to preach, exhort or hold prayer meetings. This 
in many respects was a harsh law, and in most cases in the 
county, as elsewhere, was not strictly enforced. The white 
preachers in their attempt to be apprehensive and to preach 
such sermons as the negroes need, emphasized the duty of 
servants to masters from the text, ''Servants obey your mas- 
ters." The more independent among the blacks, especially 
among the mulattoes, rejected this kind of preaching. To 
them it seemed merely a white man religion, and but another 
means of making the bonds of servitude more secure. 

It was the custom to send some quiet old preacher of great 
kindness,' humility, and usually of ability to the task of preach- 
ing to the negroes. It is clearly shown in the respects that the 
negroes were very devoted to their preacher, and I have been 
told by some of our oldest citizens, showed their appreciation 
of his service by frequent presents, such as food and articles 
of personal wear. 

For the negroes on the plantation who joined the neighbor- 
ing churches, special instruction was often provided. Such at 
least was shown from the report of Bishop Atkinson of the 
Episcopal Church. In the Diocesan Convention, 1856, he re- 
ported that he appointed Mr. William Murphy some months 
before to officiate at Wilson and Rocky Mount, taking charge 
at the same time of religious instruction of the slaves of Mr. 
Turner Battle and his sister. Bishop Atkinson himself a few 
years later preached in Rocky Mount one afternoon and ad- 
mm'stered the communion, and in the evening preached to the 
slaved of Mr. Battle and his sister. In the Episcopal Church 
••'•• negro members must have been slaves of the white mem- 
bers since the Episcopalians were largely slaveholders. Usu- 


34 Historical Papers 

ally the colored people occupied the seats reserved for the 
missions for the slaves. Captain T. W. Battle had one, but 
discontinued it after a year because the slaves took no in- 
terest. There seems also to have been one in connection with 
the church at Tarborough that was permanent. 

It is notable to observe that there was an encuoraging in- 
dication of increasing interest in the religious instruction of 
the slaves prior to the Civil War. Ministers were employed 
by masters to aid them in this part of their duty. In the 
earlier period of the Diocese, Mr. Murphy was employed by 
the Battle family to promote a religious spirit among the 
slaves. 33 

It appears from the results of the religious training or so- 
cial life of the slaves that they were either more or less con- 
tent or because of the rigid laws they were afraid to uprise, 
since there is but one record of an insurrection even rumored 
in Edgecombe County. It may not be inappropriate to mention 
that one incident in conclusion. 


While the province was arming for the Revolution, negro 
uprisings were especially dreaded. This induced the colonists 
to increase their patrol. In Pitt, Beaufort, Martin, and Edge- 
combe counties in 1775, the report was spread that a certain 
ship captain whose name was Johnson, of White Haven, and 
who was then loading naval stores in the Pamlico River, was 
inciting the negroes to rebellion. The alleged plan was to the 
effect that through the teachings of Captain Johnson all the 
slaves in that region had to agree to murder on a certain night 
all the whites where they (the slaves) lived. They were to 
proceed from house to house toward the interior of the pro- 
vince, murdering as they went. Here they were told they 
would find the inhabitants and governor ready to help them.-' 
Johnson was just sailing at that time, and he was reported to 
have said that he would return in the autumn and take his 
choice of the plantations on the river. The whites it seemed 
believed the story and for a while the whole region was in a 
fever of excitement. The "terrified people pursued an im- 
aginary band of 150 negroes for several days, but none were 

Slavery ix Edgecombe County 35 

taken or seen, though they had several times been fired at." 
This was as near a discovery of the real movement as they 
ever came to, and marks the only account of the first and last 
indication of any slave insurrection in the county. 


1 Colonial Records, Vol. Ill, p. 431. 

2 Colonial Records. Vol. T, pp. 41, 602, 715; Vol. VI, pp. 745, 1026. 

3 Later the importation of slavery ceased, and the steadiness of 
this increase indicates that it was due entirely to births. 

* Colonial Records, Vol. I, pp. SO. 

'Colonial Records. Vol. Ill, pp. 102, 101 ; Vol. V, pp. 1133; Vol. 
VII, pp. 22. 

'Colonial Records, Vol. IV, p. 60. 

T John Alston bought 19 slaves, John Pope 6 white servants, while 
Elisha Battle bought 11 plantations and brought 10 slaves from Vir- 
ginia at late as 1735. 

s Edgecombe was originally a part of Bertie Precinct. 

9 Colonial Records. Vol. V. pp. 144, 145, 314. 

19 Colonial Records, Vol. V. p. 315. 

"Colonial Records, Vol. Ill; Vol. I, p. 720. 

" Granville County was cut ofl from Edgecombe in 1747, making a 
•considerable decrease in the original number. 

12 Due to the formation of Halifax County in 1757. 

"Book IV, RR Tarboro. p. 640. 

"Inferior Court Records, 1799-1811, Tarboro, North Carolina. 

18 There is no more evidence of emancipating slaves in the court 
records until 1335. From this time until the War between the States, 
slaves were frequently emancipated by their various masters. In 1851 
several slave masters in the county liberated their slaves, while Jacob 
Mettles, a prominent planter, emancipated six at one time and shipped 
them to Liberia on board the "Morgan Dix" from Baltimore. 

"Tarboro Southerner, January 15, 1859. 

"Colonial Records, Vol". I, p. 204. 

"Tarboro Southerner, January 9, 1859. 

"Minute Docket B. 1825-1834, p. S. 1826 L. 

n 2 Dev. 263. 

a It was necessary to know the age of slaves in order to determine 
the selling price of said slave, the value being fixed according to 
age, etc. 

a Book IV, p. 642, RD Tarboro. 

14 Book IV, p. 640, RD Tarboro. 

25 Book V, p. 416, RD Tarboro. 

" Book V, pp. 232. 248, RD Tarboro. 
Tarboro Southerner, January 14, 1854. 

36 Historical Papers 

23 Book 24, p. 2, RD Tarboro. 

"Ordinance made in Tarboro, 1787. p. 610, N. C. 

30 Colonial Records. Vol. Ill, p. 431. 

31 Colonial Records, Vol. IX, 326. 
"Biggs' History Kehukee Asso., pp. 59, 60. 
83 Bishop's N. C, p. 158. 

54 Governor Martin was principally the instigator of this rebellion. 
He desired to cause trouble for the rebellion colonists. 



William K. Boyd, Professor of History in Trinity College 

First of all, I wish to pay a tribute. Seven years ago at 
the meeting of this Society I listened with rapt attention to 
an address on "Some First Things in North Carolina Meth- 
odism." It stimulated my interest, already aroused by the 
speaker's first volume., and I went home to watch with 
eager expectation for the announcement of the second vol- 
ume of his '"History of Methodism in North Carolina." 
Alas! earth's mortality claimed Dr, Grissom before his work 
was completed. For years he searched the records, collected 
manuscripts, and travelled far and near — a veritable itinerant 
of Methodist history — in order to tell the story of his church's 
achievement in the state of his nativity. His method was so 
thorough and his perspective so well integrated in the general 
trend of American history, that his loss is felt by those in- 
terested in the social as well as the ecclesiastical history of 
North Carolina. 

Of all this I have a peculiar sense. A general study of the 
political and social history of North Carolina from the close of 
the revolution to 1860 has led me to the question of religious 
development. For Methodism I have found no continuous 
guide, this being the period which would have been covered by 
Dr. Grissom's second volume. However, I take the liberty of 
presenting a general survey of religious movements from the 
close of the revolution through the first decade of the nine- 
teenth century, with special reference to Methodism, with an 
earnest appeal for criticism as to facts and their interpretation 
and an earnest hope that some member of this society has al- 
ready undertaken Dr. Grissom's unfinished task. 

The Revolutionary War shattered the religious forces of 
North Carolina. Readjustment to a new regime was as much 
a problem for the churches as for industry, trade, and po- 
litical thought. For this statistics bear witness. In 1790 the 
population of the state was 393,751, 50,000 of whom were 

An a \ dress before the North Carolina Conference Historical Society at Wil- 
mington, N. C, Nov. 30, 1915. 

38 Historical Papers 

heads of families. The exact proportion of church members 
cannot be ascertained, but 30,000 is a liberal estimate, leaving 
an uncultivated spiritual field of 363,751 souls. Yet the con- 
dition within the churches was not very favorable for the 
task before them. The Presbyterians had probably the largest 
membership. They were strongly intrenched in the piedmont 
and along the upper Cape Fear; but most of the loyalists in 
North Carolina were of Presbyterian stock and after the revo- 
lution many of the Scotch on the Cape Fear emigrated. In the 
piedmont section a number of the Presbyterian pastors had 
been active in the Revolutionary cause, notably Humphrey 
Hunter and Thomas McCaule, who served in the army; but 
for this very reason some of the congregations had declined. 
Moreover strict Calvinistic thought and discipline often leads 
to spiritual revolt ; witness Rousseau in France, the English 
deists, and Benjamin Franklin in America. It is not strange, 
therefore, to find that in North Carolina the traditions of 
Calvinism were seriously questioned at the close of the war. 
"The pastors shed tears over departed worth," lost in battle, 
we are told, ''but they grieved most over the living who had 
renounced the religion of their fathers, and embraced a cold 
skepticism that promised only a life of licentiousness and the 
vain hope of annihilation." The Baptists had the largest oppor- 
tunity in North Carolina. They covered a greater territory 
than any other denomination, being grouped in two associa- 
tions, the Kehukee in the east and the Sandy Creek in the 
piedmont, the latter being the third oldest association of Bap- 
tists in the United States. Their rapid growth in the South 
toward the middle of the eighteenth century was little less than 
a profound social movement. This extremely democratic or- 
ganization fitted in well with the ideals of the plain people 
w r hile the style of preaching and type of thought made a popu- 
lar appeal. The Baptist membership in 1790 was 7,742, sur- 
passed only by the Presbyterians who with the Independents 
had been estimated at 9,000 in 1762. But there were certain 
inherent weaknesses in the denomination. Individualism was 
too strongly intrenched in its polity for an organized diffusion 
of the faith; the Arminian doctrines so notable in the early 
days of the Sandy Creek Association had become dormant. 

Methodist Expansion After The Revolution 39 

and there was a strong tendency toward dissensions over cer- 
tain ordinances of the church- 
So much for the two largest denominations in North Caro- 
lina. There were also the Quakers, well organized in some of 
the eastern and at least one of the piedmont counties; but they 
were a distinct social class rather than an aggressive denomina- 
tion. The Moravians had a worthy and heroic history, but 
not until recent years have they sought an increase of mem- 
bership. The progress of the Lutherans and German Re- 
formed had been seriously checked by the interruption of 
intercourse with Europe during the war. Most significant was 
the condition of the Anglicans* Throughout the South the 
Church of England was prostrate. Among its communicants 
in North Carolina were a number of revolutionary leaders and 
its clergy- were as a rule true to the patriot cause. But its tra- 
dition of close alliance with the British colonial system was a 
serious hindrance, there was no local episcopate, and early 
efforts to organize the diocese of North Carolina failed. In 
strong contrast to this condition of "suspended animation" in 
the South was the virility of the church in the North. There 
the support of the colonial government had never been so thor- 
ough ; yet after the war bishops were elected and consecrated 
for the states of Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and New York 
and in 1785 the General Convention of the Protestant Episco- 
pal Church was organized. 

Evidently there was an opportunity for a church that had 
an organization suitable for a distinct propaganda, that was 
free from doctrinal disputes, and that was thoroughly conse- 
crated to some elemental Christian truth which would appeal 
to the people. In Methodism the hour and the opportunity met. 
The line of expansion seems to have been determined in quite a 
measure by the relative strength of the Anglicans. In 1783 
eighty per cent of the Methodist membership was in the South, 
in 1800 sixty per cent, and in 1810 fifty-seven per cent; in 
other words, the new denomination took hold most rapidly in 
that section in which the Church of England was most pros- 

Let us notice the role of North Carolina in the new move- 
ment. The Methodist pioneers made their appearance in 

40 Historical Papers 

North Carolina in 1772. The prevalent opinion is that the 
growth of the societies was checked by the Revolution, that 
many of the British preachers returned to England, and that 
the native circuit riders were popularly regarded as loyal to 
the Crown to the injury of their cause. Such a conclusion is 
not in accord with the facts, so far as North Carolina is con- 
cerned. In 1776 the membership of the societies in the State 
was 683; by 1783, the year of the treaty of peace, it had 
risen to 2,229, and the number of circuits was then increased 
from four to ten. A step toward independence from the 
Church of England was taken in 1779, when the preachers of 
North Carolina and Virginia appointed a presbytery of three 
with power to ordain themselves, then others. Through the 
influence of Francis Asbury this action was disavowed until 
Mr. Wesley could be consulted. In 1784 consent was given 
and the Methodist societies took on the clothes of a church at 
Baltimore. The mechanism of the new denomination was well 
suited to the task before it. The bishops were the generals, the 
presiding elders the captains, the circuit riders the soldiers of 
the line. All were engaged in a spiritual warfare : in contrast 
to the call of the congregation in the Presbyterian and Baptist 
polities, they were sent to the people. Not since the days of 
the Jesuit fathers in the French northwest had this country 
seen such an aggressive projection of the Christian faith ; hard- 
ly since the days of St. Francis had Christianity known a re- 
ligious type similar to the circuit rider. Like the friars, he 
knew no place of abode, parsonages not being authorized until 
1800. The meagre salary of sixty-four dollars made poverty 
truly evangelical and, with the views of Asbury, made marriage 
practically impossible for the majority. Like the mediaeval 
saints the circuit riders frequently ministered to the intel- 
lectual and physical, as well as to the more spiritual needs of 
the people. What was the attitude of mind, and what were 
the methods of work among -these fratres minores who rode 
the circuits of North Carolina in the latter part of the eigh- 
teenth and the first decade of the nineteenth centuries? Shall 
we turn to the Journal of Francis Asbury, which mentions 
North Carolina seventy times? Asbury was the preeminent 
saint of his age, but he was a man of unusual ability, a high 

Methodist Expansion After The Revolution 41 

officer, and the directing genius of the early campaign of the 
Methodist host. Let us turn in preference to the life and 
thought of the average circuit riders who never attained com- 
manding prominence, yet performed a service as essential as 
that of the supreme officers. A few of them kept diaries, 
which next to prayer are the most intimate expression of the 
inner life. Some entries made by one who travelled circuits 
in Virginia and North Carolina from 1788 to 1797 are illumi- 
nating for our purpose. 

Fiist of all the diarist in question preached at nearly every 
resting place, holding usually two services. We are safe in 
estimating for him at least seven services a week, most cf which 
were at private homes. He was never satisfied unless there 
was at each meeting some manifestation of Grace, either the 
conversion of the sinner or the rejoicing of the redeemed. 
To him the devil was a living person with whom he had con- 
flicts as real as those of the early monks. "It was not many 
moments after,'' he writes of one meeting, "before I felt as if 
Hell received a reproof ; the Lord Jesus appeared — his beau- 
tiful picture, his countenance ravished my heart, his presence 
made all within me rejoice." So intense was he on victory 
over Satan that exhaustion sometimes overtook him. "This," 
he writes, ''is something that I cannot account for — when my 
strength of body fails, it cuts off my ideas short." Often 
when the diarist grieves that God is not with him, the reader 
realizes that physical infirmity is the real trouble. Given a few 
monasteries for occasional retreat, and among the early cir- 
cuit riders would have arisen a group of religious writers com- 
parable only to Thomas a Kempis, John Tauler, and William 
Law. Their lives and achievements, if they could be written, 
would make a veritable Acta Sanctorum. 

Of particular interest was the diarist's reflections on slavery. 
At even- opportunity he preached to the negroes ; often they 
came in larger numbers by night than the whites by day. When- 
ever possible he argues with the masters concerning the wrongs 
of the institution. "If ever I get rich through slavery," he 
writes, "I shall esteem myself a traitor and claim a part in 
Hell with Judas, and the rich glutton." Again he says, "While 
the proud whites live in luxury and abomination making a 

42 Historical Papers 

mock of God, and his word, the African upholds him by his 
swet and labor of his willing hands — and if they serve the 
Lord God it must be in the dead of night when they ought to 
be taking rest of their bodys. O, blood, blood, how awful it 
cryes up before God against my poor unjust professing Bro." 

Once he witnessed the realities of oppression. Preaching 
one day, "the dear black people was filled with the power and 
spirit of God and began with a great Shout to give glory to 
God — this vexed the Devil. He entered into the cruel white 
men with violence who eagerly ran into the church with sticks 
and clubs and caines — abeating and abusing the poor slaves 
them outcast of man for praising God ... a magistrate 
that has taken the oath was the instigator of it . . . with 
bitter oaths and gnashing of teeth he put up a prayer that we 
the preachers was all in Some Misearable Infernal Place. . . 
I think if ever I saw happy people it was today under perse- 
cution. O the tears, screams, crys and groans for the wicked 
it was awful. I looked out the window while I stood at the 
desk and behold ; a poor black bro. lucked me in the face, with 
bursting grief tears of blood, roiling down his bruised face, 
and cryed this is what I have for praising my dear Jesus. . . 
It reached my poor heart, I beged him to bare it for Christ 
Sake, he would soon (if he was faithful) be out of reach of 
their clubs — O how can I rest when I see my bro unhumanely 
treated. O America, America ; blood and oppression will be 
thy overthrow." 

For years the diarist presented the cause of Christ with all 
his strength; then his itinerating days ended in the year 1797, 
not with death, but matrimony. But the rejoicing of the 
bridegroom could not be dissociated from some manifesta- 
tion of Grace. On his wedding night he made this entry : 

Monday, Tune 5. Many are my afflictions but I hope out of them 
God will deliver me. This blessed night about nine o'clock I was 
united in wedlock to Miss Polly Seward, daughter of John Seward, 
of Brunswick, state of Virginia, by the Rev. John Easter. I think 
God has owned this union which was sealed with the solemn cere- 
mony. Bro. W. Spencer, whom I called Jonathan, was so kind as to 
give me his company and attendance. We had sweet prayer and 
thanksgiving together unto the blessed Lord. I thank God we had an 
answer to prayer. Many shouts were sent up to Heaven. It was a 

Methodist Expansion After The Revolution 43 

solemn time with me, may the Lord bless us, and give us the sweet 
guidance of his Holy Spirit." 

James Meacham, from whom I have quoted, was not the 
only circuit rider in North Carolina.* In 1783 there were on 
the North Carolina circuits eighteen preachers ; by 1800 there 
were twenty-seven. Co-operating with them were a large num- 
ber of local preachers, estimated by Jesse Lee in 1800 at 150. 
The work of the pioneers was not limited to preaching the 
gospel. They wielded an intellectual influence. Sometime be- 
tween 1780 and 1790 Cokesbury School was established on the 
Yadkin, the first preparatory school in America under Metho- 
dist control. A few years after the Revolution Sunday schools 
were introduced for the purpose of instruction in the element- 
ary branches, and the Conference of 1790 declared, "Let us 
labor, as the heart and soul of one man, to establish Sunday 
schools in or near the place of public worship. Let persons be 
appointed by the bishops, elders, deacons or preachers to teach 
(gratis) all that will attend and have a capacity to learn; 
from six o'clock in the morning till ten, and from two 'clock 
in the afternoon till six; where it does not interfere with pub- 
lic worship. The Council shall compile a proper school book, 
to teach them learning and piety." Just when the Methodist 
Sunday school appeared in North Carolina and how exten- 
sively the institution was used, I have not been able to learn. 
In Virginia the first Sunday school was organized in 1786, in 
South Carolina, in 1787. The circuit riders had still another 
intellectual influence. When the Methodist publishing house 
was organized they scattered its books and tracts throughout 
North Carolina. It is a matter of record that the Discipline 
of 1786 and also the first number of the Arminian Magazine 
were prepared for the press in North Carolina, the former by 
John Dickins on the Bertie Circuit, the latter by Coke and 
Asbury in 17S9. 

Nor were the Presbyterians and Baptists inactive. In 
1788 the Synod of the Carolinas was organized, and the Pres- 
byterian divines busied themselves in combating skepticism, 
restoring Sabbath observance, and holding short seasons of 
fasting and prayer in their churches twice a year. Long be- 

' See Diary and Travel of James Meacham in Historical Papers, Series IX 
and X. 

44 * Historical Papers 

fore the camp meeting came into vogue, tents or stands ' - 
use of the minister in out-of-door preaching were common 
among the Presbyterian congregations. By the Baptists 
five new associations were organized, three in the west, the Y 
Yadkin (1790), Mayo (1798), and Mountain (1799), r- : 
two in the east, Tar River (1794), and Flat River (1794;. 
Thus the period from 1783 to 1800 was one of preparation, 
characterized by a gradual extension of the churches into fields 
hitherto unoccupied and by denominational 
The result was a rich harvest, ushered in by a 
which began in 1801 and lasted for a decade. Baptist traditions 
regard it as a reflex of the great revival contemporary in the 
west, while good Presbyterian authority claims that it began 
in Orange County as the result of prayer meetings conducted 
by the wife of Dr. David Caldwell. With the Methodists the 
genesis of the revival undoubtedly was the Conference of 
1800 which met in Baltimore. It closed with a distinct mani- 
festation of Grace and the preachers carried the flame of 
evangelism to the most distant circuits. In North Carolina 
the revival started in the western counties, thence spread to 
the Cape Fear, then the coast and the Albemarle section, and 
culminated in a meeting at Raleigh, 1811. Here was a move- 
ment of epochal importance in our religious history. Let us 
notice some of its characteristics. 

First of all there was co-operation on the part of the Meth- 
odists, the Presbyterians and the Baptists. The means of 
reaching the people was the camp meeting. Its origin dates 
from 17S9 or 1790, when it was used in the western counties 
by John McGee and Daniel Asbury, and later was introduced 
by McGee into Tennessee and Kentucky. With the revival it 
became the most prominent means of carrying the gospel to the 
masses. The numbers attending were estimated by the thou- 
sands. From all accounts the results were greater in the pied- 
mont than in the Cape Fear section. To a large degree this 
may be attributed to racial influences. In the western coun- 
ties the population was largely Scotch-Irish. These people 
were exiles in a double sense. In the migration from Scotland 
to Ireland much of the discipline of the kirk was lost. The 
English Church was established in Ireland and the govern- 

Methodist Expansion After The Revolution 45 

ment opposed any other form of Protestantism. Hence under 
great difficulties did the Presbyterian church in Ireland main- 
tain its existence. Moreover, the early years of the Scotch 
in Ireland were years of conflict with rugged nature. Cabins 
were built, fields were cleared in face of opposition by the 
native Irish and the beasts of the forest. Thus for a time 
physical wants stood first. These facts, the frontier life and 
the policy of the English government, were the background for 
a new kind of religious experience which came about 1625, a 
wave of revivals conducted by missionaries, not in churches, 
but in the cabins of the settlers, the first form of prayer meet- 
ing. A century later the Scotch-Irish emigrated to America. 
Again the task of the first years was a conflict with nature, 
clearing the forest and establishing homes. The outlook for 
fruitful life was better than in Ireland ; the hearts of the pepole 
were softened by the greater degree of liberty and old preju- 
dices relaxed. The result was the revival of 1755 in the Pied- 
mont section, let by Strubal Stearns, the Baptist missionary 
from New England, and the still greater revival of 1801. 

On the other hand the experience of the Scotch Highland- 
ers had been different. In Scotland the kirk was established 
and the chief religious interest was to defend it from criticism 
by the Anglicans. Hence the Scotch divines excelled in 
the philosophy of religion, the defense of traditional thought 
and forms of worship. Consequently neither in Scot- 
land nor among the Scotch in America were Methodism 
or revivals very popular. Let me illustrate by two Presbyterian 
clergymen in North Carolina. Dr. David Caldwell, Scotch- 
Irish minister, educator and politician, welcomed the revival 
of 1S01 as a special manifestation of Grace; likewise one of 
his congregations, the church at Alamance. Not so another of 
his congregations, the church at Buffalo. Alamance went so 
far as to adopt the evangelical hymns of Isaac Watts but Buf- 
falo continued the old custom of singing the psalms. In strong 
contrast to Dr. Caldwell was Samuel MacCorkle, a Scotch 
minister. At first he was extremely doubtful of the value of 
the great wave of evangelism. At Caldwell's special invitation 
he attended a camp meeting in Randolph County, He was 
shocked by the scenes. "Is it possible, said I, that this scene 

^6 • Historical Papers 

of seeming confusion can come from the spirit of God? Can 
He who called light from darkness, and order from confusion, 
educe light and order from such a dark mental and moral 
chaos?" Toward the close of the meeting, while still in doubt 
as to the efficacy- of the revival, he was called to his own • 
who was under conviction of sin. While praying over lira 
the good dominie's interest widened to the whole world of 
sinners, his doubts of the value of revivals were dispelled, and 
he himself became active in camp meetings. 

What has this attitude of the Presbyterians toward re- 
vivals to do with Methodism? Everything; the Calvinistic 
forces, both Presbyterian and Baptist, were divided as to the 
value and advisability of this method of propaganda. The 
Methodists were not divided, their Arminian doctrine made 
them unanimous, and hence in the end they reaped a greater 
harvest. By 1810 they had outstripped other denominations 
in point of numbers. 

The phase of the revival that attracted most attention was 
the physical expression of emotion. Such religious exercises 
as failing or the jerks, dancing, barking, laughing, and singing 
were common. Such phenomena Had characterized the pre- 
vious revivals in Ireland and the piedmont section. They 
were most common among the Scotch-Irish. Most of our ac- 
counts are from Presbyterian sources. Typical were the scenes 
at a camp meeting held in Rutherford County in 1802 by 
Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists : 

There was a powerful work among the people, such as had never 
been witnessed before in this part of the country. Many were as- 
tonished beyond measure, and appeared to be frightened almost to 
death. They would fail sometimes, under preaching, their whole 
length on the ground, and with such suddenness and violence as 
seemed almost enough to kill them. Some of my neighbors fell at 
my feet like men shot in battle. This the people called being "struck 
down," and when they professed religion, they called that "com ng 

One of the most mysterious exercises among the people was what 
was called the jerk?. I saw numbers exercised in this way at a carap- 
meeting held in Lincoln County. Sometimes their heads would 
jerked backward and forward with such \ j lence that it WouJ I :- -' 
them to utter im rfuntarily a sharp, quick sound similar tc the yelp 
of a dog; and the hair of the women to crack like a whip. Sometimes 

Methodist Expansion After The Revolution 47 

their arms, with clenched fists, would be jerked in alternate directions 
with such force as seemed sufficient almost to separate them from the 
body. Sometimes all their limbs would be affected, and they would 
be thrown into almost every imaginable position, and it was as im- 
possible to hold them still almost as to hold a wild horse. When a 
woman was exercised in this way, other women would join hands 
around her and keep her within the circle they formed: but the men 
were left without constraint to jerk at large through the congrega- 
tion, over benches, over logs, and even over fences. I have seen 
persons exercised in such a way that they would go all over the floor 
with a quick, dancing motion, and with such rapidity that their fee: 
would rattle upon the floor like drum-sticks. 

Some of the Presbyterians got into some extremes and brought a 
reproach upon the good work. They got into what they called the 
dancing exercise, the marrying exercise, etc. Sometimes a whole set 
of them would get together and begin dancing about at a most ex- 
travagant rate. Sometimes they would be exercised about getting 
married, and one would tell another he or she had a particular revela- 
tion that they must be married, and if the one thus addressed did not 
consent, he or she must expect to be damned. Thus many got married, 
and it was said some old maids, who had nearly gotten antiquated, 
managed in this way to get husbands. But this was condemned by 
the more sober part among Presbyterians and Methodists, and it has 
now nearly subsided.* 

In the light of such scenes it is not strange to hear that 
Methodist ministers were sometimes arrested or assaulted and 
that one husband applied a mustard plaster to his wife to 
cure her of Methodism. Experience with human souls in the 
camp meeting often brought with it an unusual knowledge of 
the mind and its operations. Sometimes the circuit riders 
utilized this knowledge for the cure of mental ailments. An 
example occurred in Wilmington in 1815. Joseph Travis 
was pastor of the Methodist Church. Among the residents of 
the town was an ex-governor of the state. One day he asked 
Travis to call on his wife who for some time had been treated 
by physicians for some mental disturbance. Hear Travis' ac- 
count of the interview and its results : 

Calling on the lady he found that "her head had been shaved and 
blistered, and I know not what besides had been tried, to restore her 
mind to a proper balance. Ye: withal, she apparently grew worse. I 
told her that at the request oi her husband, I had called to see her. 
She immediately commenced relating to me her deplorable insanity. 
and the cause leading thereunto; namely, a confusion of mind which 

David Gray, quoted from Shipp, Methodism in South Carolina, p. 273. 

48 Histoeicajl Papers 

suddenly seized her one day; and withal that her greatest grief was 
that she was not prepared for death. I endeavored to convince her 
that she was not deranged, assuring her that a deranged person was 
not conscious of any abberration of mind. I pretty well convinced 
her of the fact and then proceeded to point her desponding and sin- 
smitten sou! to the great atonement made for sinners by the death 
and resurrection of Christ. I conversed with her for a half hour or 
so, prayed with her, and left her. In a day or two afterwards, a 
carriage drove up to the parsonage. I stepped out, and who should 
it be but Mrs. Smith. I helped her out of the carriage and with 
weeping eyes as she entered the parsonage, she exclaimed, "O Sir! 
you have done me more good than all the doctors put together. You 
directed me to Jesus. I went to him by faith, and humble confidence 
and prayer. He lias healed me. soul and body; I feel quite happy.* 

In the eastern counties the outlook for converts to Method- 
ism was different than in the west. There was a large negro 
population, and the whites were mainly of English rather than 
Scotch-Irish extraction. In those counties that had a large 
colored element in their population Methodism seems to have 
made a stronger appeal to the negroes than the whites. The 
first white convert in Fayetteviile was baptized in 1802 al- 
though for some time there had been a large negro congrega- 
tion, organized by Henry Evans, a free negro preacher. In 
Wilmington in 1802 the white membership was 48-, the negro 
231 ; in 1812 the figures were 94 white and 704 colored. In the 
Albemarle section the Methodist movement received the co- 
operation of the Anglicans. For this Reverend Charles Petti- 
grew was largely responsible. In vain he had labored to 
organize the surviving elements of the Church of England into 
a diocese. In fact he was elected Bishop of North Carolina in 
1794 but was never consecrated. Realizing the futility of his 
efforts, he turned to Methodism as the best hope for religion. 
At his home he entertained the circuit riders, at the chapel on 
his plantation near Edenton they preached, and until 1839 Pet- 
tigrew's Chapel was a regular appointment on the Columbia 

The culmination of the evangelistic wave was reached in a 
meeting at Raleigh. There the Virginia Conference met m 
1811. Its sessions were held in the State House because the 
small Methodist congregation had no building. Asbury was 

* Autobiography of Joseph Travis, p. 80. 

Methodist Expansion After The Revolution 40 

present, so were McKendree, Jesse Lee and other pioneers of 
Methodism, Guided by their preaching about fifty professed 
Christ, among whom was William Hill, Secretary of State from 
1811 to 1859. The immediate result was the construction of a 
church, the direct antecedent of Edenton Street. Among the 
witnesses of the revival was William Glendenning, one of the 
original Methodist preachers in America. In 1785 he left the 
new denomination, dissatisfied with its form of government, 
joined O'Kelly's Republican Methodist Church; by 1811 he 
had become an Unitarian and pastor of the only church build- 
ing in Raleigh. He welcomed his old associates and took a 
keen interest in the revival but frequently exclaimed, "I do not 
like the government, I do not like the government." It is very 
significant that the streams cf Unitarianism and Methodism 
should have met in Raleigh. The town was the capital of the 
state and in political circles there was a well-defined revolt 
against religious traditions. Now Unitarianism stood for in- 
tellectual revolt in religion and Methodism for a moral re- 
volt ; both were for their day and time radical movements, di- 
rected against a wall of mental and moral conservatism. If 
the first church in the new capital was Unitarian, the second 
was Methodist, and the revival stimulated other denominations 
into life, for in a few years churches were built by Baptists, 
Presbyterians arid the Episcopalians. 

No review of the religious movement in North Carolina 
in the quarter century after the revolution would be complete 
without some consideration of its influence on the life of the 
people. Of this it is unfortunately difficult to make an esti- 
mate. Most of our church history consists of the biography 
of clergymen, outlines of theological controversies and the 
defense of institutions of the church to the neglect of the life 
and work of the laity. Moreover, as all the churches in North 
Carolina were growing or making efforts toward better organi- 
zation of their forces in the period under consideration, it is 
very difficult to differentiate the religious influence of one de- 
nomination from that of another. Truly there is more like- 
ness than dissimilarity among the children of God. Yet with 
due regard to these difficulties, certain conclusions are war- 

50 Historical Papers 

First of all, the reality of religion was brought home to the 
people, principally by the revival of 1801. Now the latter half 
of the eighteenth century was preeminently an age of [re- 
thinking. Skepticism was then aggressive, scoffing, irreligious 
and irreverent, and such it remained until the scientific move- 
ment of the nineteenth century gave free thought, sound facts, 
a method, and a task. Now the skepticism of the older type 
existed among the intellectual class in North Carolina, and the 
uncultivated copied their betters and swaggered about un- 
belief. Churches had not been too numerous either in count ry 
or towns, and the cause of religion had not been very exten- 
sively or very thoroughly presented prior to the Revolution. 
The great revival, therefore, marks healthy reaction, an awak- 
ening of the people to the reality of the religious element in 
life. The conversion of the infidel was a common event. 
Typical is the following account by James Jenkins. Writing 
in 1802 of a meeting in the Waxhaws he says : "One among 
many remarkable cases I will relate of a professed atheist who 
fell to the earth and sent for brother Gassaway to pray for 
him. After laboring in the pangs of the new birth for some 
-time, the Lord gave him deliverance. He then confessed be- 
fore hundreds that for some years he had not believed there 
was a God now found him gracious to his soul." The reac- 
tion from infidelity probably explains in some measure the re- 
ligious exercises and visions, phenomena which do not occur 
today because the claims of religion are familiar to us from 
early youth. People in the present generation are not less re- 
ligious but more normal in the expression of their convictions. 

Out of the religious movement came a demand for moral 
reform. Illustrative was a new attitude toward alcohol. Every 
gentleman had his private distillery, the leading politician oi 
North Carolina is said to have kept a bucket of corn whiskey 
at his front door, and the manufacture and peddling of liquor- 
was an industry as common as raising cotton or tobacco. V.' 
in the Methodist Conference minutes of 1783 we find the fol- 
lowing question and answer: 

Q.— "Should our friends be permitted to make spirituous liquors, 
sell, and drink them in drams?" 

Methodist Expansion After The Revolution 51 

A. — "By no means ; in that it is wrong in its nature and conse- 
quences, and desire all our preachers to teach the people by precept 
and example ro put away the evil." 

So far as I have been able to find this is the genesis of the 
prohibition movement in the South. Later local preachers 
were prohibited under penalty to distill or retail spirituous 
liquors. However, the issue was injected into politics by the 
Baptists when in 1817 the following resolutions were adopted 
by the Sandy Creek Association : 

Whereas, this association views with concern and regret the custom 
existing among candidates for public posts of honor and profit, of 
distributing spirituous liquors among the people, in order to enhance 
their own popularity, and influence the suffrages of their fellow citi- 
zens at elections : and whereas such a custom is both ruinous to the 
morals and happiness of the people, and dangerous to their civil rights 
and liberties. 

1. Resolved unanimously, That a person be appointed to prepare 
a memorial to be presented to the next meeting of the General As- 
sembly of the State of North Carolina, praying them to enact a law 
against this degrading evil. 

2. Resolved, That it be recommended to the churches of this 
association to refuse their support to any candidate who shall, either 
himself or by another person distribute spirituous liquors with a 
view to conciliate the affections of the people. 

3. Resolved, That this association concur with their brethren of 
the Flat River Association, in inviting all professing Christians, and 
lovers of the good order and morality, to lend their decided co-oper- 
ation to avert the evils which this custom entails upon us. 

4. Agreed that Brother George Dismukes wait upon the legis- 
lature with the memorial of this body." 

The great revival deeply influenced the various denomina- 
tions. Increase of membership made possible more compact 
church organization. In 1803 the Lutheran synod of North 
Carolina was formed. In 1813 the Presbyterian churches 
withdrew from the Synod of the Carolinas and organized the 
Synod of Xorth Carolina. In 1817 the Episcopalians organized 
the Diocese of Xorth Carolina, with three clergymen and less 
than 200 laity. John Stark Ravenscroft was elected Bishop 
and at the end of his episcopolate in 1830 there were eleven 
clergymen and 650 lay members. 

52 Historical Papers „ 

Of all churches the Baptist was most profoundly affected. 
Two issues, the direct result of the revival, convulsed the de- 
nomination. One was that of missions. In 1805 the Philan- 
thropic Baptist Missionary Society was organized, the first 
Baptist sociery for missions in the United States, followed in 
1814 by the North Carolina Baptist Society for Foreign Mis- 
sions, the former acting through the association, the latter 
through individuals. In 1817 the contributions of the North 
Carolina Baptists for missions surpassed those of any other 
state, except Massachusetts. However the cause of home 
missions overshadowed that of foreign missions. A second 
movement was for closer relationship between the associations, 
resulting in the Baptist General Meeting of Correspondence of 
1812. In 1821 the Philanthropic Society and tht General Meet- 
ing were merged into the North Carolina Baptist Missionary 
Society, with salaried officers and the purpose of developing 
systematic benevolence. Undoubtedly the increasing import- 
ance of domestic over foreign missions and the attempt at co- 
operation among the associations were due to competition of 
the Methodists, who by 1810 had passed the Baptists in num- 
bers. But the movements were bitterly opposed. The spirit 
of individualism was so strongly rooted that there was fear of 
any semblance of authority beyond the local church. More- 
over, the rigid Calvinistic element criticized the organized 
propaganda for missions as a diversion from God's plans. 
Much bitterness was engendered. When the party of progress 
organized the Baptist State Convention in 1831, three of the 
older associations repudiated the movement and the spirit of 
schism split many of the churches. 

Nor was the problem of organization confined to the Bap- 
tists. Considerable dissatisfaction pervaded the Methodists. 
In the early days of the church there was discontent with the 
episcopacy. Joseph Pilmoor, the first Methodist preacher in 
North Carolina, never left the Church of England. William 
Meredith, who introduced Methodism into Wilmington, lived 
and died a Primitive Methodist. Glendenning, as we have seen, 
became a Unitarian, and Parson Miller, of Rowan County. 
never left the Church of England ; indeed, he helped to estab- 
lish the Diocese of North Carolina. 

Methodist Expansion After The Revolution 53 

The leader of the earlier dicontent was James O'Kelley, a 
native of Ireland, who spent his later years in Chatham County, 
North Carolina. When the motion to allow the itinerant to 
appeal from the Bishop to the Conference in the matter of his 
appointment was rejected in 1792, O'Kelley withdrew and soon 
organized the Republican Methodist Church, now the Christian 
Church. Another period of discontent opened after the great 
revival. On account of the small salary of the itinerant, there 
was a host of local preachers who retired from the ranks in 
order to support their families. They particpated in the camp 
meetings and the revivals, and demanded recognition in the 
councils of the church. In 1820 the General Conference al- 
lowed them to organize district conferences, the chairmen of 
which were the presiding elders. This concession was not 
enough; in 1821 the Roanoke District Conference of Local 
Preachers sent to similar bodies and also to the Virginia 
Conference a protect against rules for their government made 
by a general conference in which they were not represented, 
and a petition for representation was sent up to the General 
Conference of 1824. From other states were also sent petitions 
for lay representation. When these were rejected, "union so- 
cieties" were organized to agitate for reform, the second so- 
ciety in the movement being the Roanoke Union Society, or- 
ganized in Halifax County, Nov. 3, 1824. A little later the 
Granville Union was formed on the Tar River Circuit. The 
policy of the itinerants and presiding elders toward the move- 
ment for reform was drastic. Accusing members of the unions 
of inveighing against the discipline and sowing dissensions. 
they frequently expelled them from the churches. When a 
second appeal for reform to the General Conference of 182S 
was rejected, a new denomination was launched, the Associated 
Methodist Churches, later the Methodist Protestant Church : 
the first annual conference of the new movement was organ- 
ized in m North Carolina in December, 1828. 

These revolts were safety valves for discontent. They 
did not impede the growth of the Methodist Episcipal Church 
which continued to surpass other denominations in point or 
numbers. Let us inquire in conclusion if Methodism made 

54: Historical Papers 

any distinct contribution to religious life and thought in North 
Carolina. Undoubtedly it did. That contribution did not 
spring from its superior organization or methods of work but 
from its doctrine and the attitude of mind arising from it. Of 
the denominations that made a distinct appeal to the masses, 
Methodism alone was Arminian, the Baptists and Presbyter- 
ians being Calvinistic. The important of this doctrinal cleav- 
age is realized when we contrast certain by-products. Granted 
the theory of predestination, it inevitably follows that the elect 
of God are differentiated from the rest of humanity. More- 
over the interests of the elect can not be confined to matters 
purely spiritual. Their voice should be heard in political and 
social affairs. It is not strange therefore to find Calvinistic min- 
isters taking a leading part in political conventions, preaching 
on the merits of the federal constitution, serving in the legis- 
lature and the halls of Congress. The Calvinistic congregation 
was a force to be reckoned with in matters of politics and gov- 
ernment. Moreover the elect of God must eat and drink; 
should they not patronize the merchant of their own denomina- 
tion ? Their children had to be educated ; should they not be 
sent to the school conducted by one of the elect? Calvinism 
produced a corporate spirit from which sprang a denomina- 
tional influence in politics and education. 

In strong contrast is the by-product of Arminianism. If the 
will is free to accept Christ, Christians cannot be set apart 
from the rest of humanity in one group or a number of 
groups; religious values spring from private judgment, the 
acceptance of Christ by man, rather than the choice of God 
manifested through certain ordinances or church member- 
ship. The spirit of Methodism is, therefore, individualistic. 
The corporate spirit is almost entirely lacking, and its chief 
product is a liberal attitude toward all men. Before the Meth- 
odist laymen will patronize the Methodist merchant or the 
Methodist- school, he must be shown that these are just as good 
as any others that can be found elsewhere. Rarely have the 
preachers exercised a political influence, as in the case of 
the Calvinistic clergy. Moreover as salvation is open to all, 
Methodism may use in carrying out its purposes professors ot 

Methodist Expansion After The Revolution 55 

Christ of any denomination whatsoever. This liberality to- 
ward men and human agencies has been the distinct contribu- 
tion of Methodism to religious life and thought in North 
Carolina. May it never diminish but increase in influence as 
the years go by. 



By Isaac S. Harrell 


In the northeastern part of North Carolina, bordering 
Virginia and about thirty miles as the crows fly from Norfolk, 
is situated the county of Gates. On the west lies the county of 
Hertford and the boundary to the south is marked by the his- 
toric counties of Chowan and Perquimans. On the east the 
county is cut oil from civilization by the dense Dismal Swamp, 
which is as rich in hue timbers and wild beasts as the old town 
of Edenton, in Chowan County, is in tradition and legend. 
The county thus situated has an area of 356 square miles and 
in 1910 the Federal Census reported a population of 10,455; 
with the exception of a few of the more thrifty and enterpris- 
ing counties of the State. Crates is about the average in size and 
population and a little behind in industry. 1 

The county is dotted over with small swamps and pocosorts 
leading either into the great Dismal Swamp on the east or into 
Bennett's Creek and thence into the Chowan River to the south. 
Along these swamps, pocosons and creeks lie some of the rich 
farming lands characteristic of eastern Carolina; the people 
have no difficulty in producing a large crop if the season is 
suitable, but too much rain means disaster. Between the low, 
marshy lands scattered here and there over the county are 
sand ridges, and on these ridges it is extremely difficult to make 
a good crop; if there is too much rain the crop will drown, 
and a short drought will parch vegetation. The money crops 
of the county are cotton and peanuts ; occasionally some thrifty 
farmer succeeds in marketing an early crop of Irish potatoes. 
Corn and other grains are raised for home consumption only. 
The low fertile lands bordering the swamps are covered with 
reeds that remain green throughout the year and apparently 
offer a good opportunity for stock raising; but in summer the 
flies and mosquitoes make grazing impracticable and in winter 
a large area of the land is flooded with water. However many 
of the farmers raise a few hogs for the nearby meat packers 

* T ': e following topics are discussed: Early Descriptions, The Negro, Churches, 
Education, Politics, Economic Conditions. 

58 Historical Papers 

of Suffolk and Norfolk ; but even these have to be kept in a 
pasture by the farmers who live near the great swamps, in or- 
der to protect them from beasts that frequently make raids 
from their homes in the swamp to nearby ranges. 

There are no large landowners in the county ; all belong to 
the small farmer class. The products of the county are not 
as great as they are in some of the other counties of similar 
area. In 1910 the farms with their live stock were valued at 
$1,330,000 and the products not fed to live stock were valued at 
$528,348. There are no manufacturing establishments and no 
cities. There is only one navigable stream in the county, Ben- 
nett's Creek, and this leads through a circuitous route to the 
Chowan River and the Albemarle Sound. Thus in industrial 
pursuits Gates falls into the class of the unimportant counties 
of the state. 

The county of Gates was established by the General As- 
sembly in 1788.- The names Gates was chosen in honor of 
General Gates, who had just triumphed in his famous cam- 
paign over General Burgoyne in New York. The law of in- 
corporation reads in part: k *Whereas by reason of the width 
of the Chowan River and the difficulty of passing over the 
same, especially in boisterious weather, it is extremely incon- 
venient for the inhabitants of the north-east end of the said 
river, to attend courts and other public business, as also for the 
convenience of the inhabitants of the north of Chowan and 
Perquimans Counties, it is necessary that the same be divided 
into a distinct and separate county." 

After the county was created by the General Assembly, it 
was laid off into townships. That part which was formerly in 
Perquimans went to make up Mintonsville Township. This 
township was in the eastern part of the county, and was bor- 
dered by the Dismal Swamp. In the northern part of the 
county, just above Mintonsville and bordering the Virginia 
line, the township known in the early days as Folley and later 
as Holley Grove, was formed. West of the Folley Township 
and bordering the Virginia line was Hasletts. Adjoining this 
township and to the west was Reynoldson Township, or the 
Brick House as it is designated in the early returns because 
of the place where the elections were held. This township 

Gates County to 1860 59 

was joined on the west by Hertford County. To the south of 
Revnoldson the township known as Hall was laid off. East of 
this township and south of Hasletts and Folley Townships 
was Gatesviile. The townships of Gatesviile, Revnoldson, 
Hall and Hasletts were formed from Hertford and Chowan 
counties and in politics always stood exactly opposed to the 
township of Mintonsville, formed from that part of the county 
taken from Perquimans. Holley Grove or the Folley Town- 
ship was formed from parts of Perquimans and part of Chow- 
an and was about evenly divided in local political strife as will 
be explained later. In the earliest returns that can be obtained 
(those of 1842) there are returns from Hunter's Mill but in 
many of the returns that follow there is no mention of this 
township and whether it was united with other townships for 
several years and later re-established or whether the returns 
are lost, cannot be ascertained. This township is situated in 
the middle of the county between Gatesviile and Mintonsville 
and south of Folley Township. The situation of these town- 
ships and their political status were important influences in the 
development of the county. 

The history of Gates County is not attractive because of 
any illustrious achievements within its border ; there were no 
great leaders in state or national politics in the early days who 
hailed from Gates. It was an inert county from the very be- 
ginning ; there were no agitations for reform ; everyone was 
satisfied with things as they were. 

Hence the value of Gates County history is that it illustrates 
life in North Carolina under average conditions uninfluenced 
by the stress of progress or extreme poverty. 


In order to understand clearly the social and economic con- 
ditions in Gates County, it will be necessary to trace briefly 
the development of the territory from which the county was 
formed. The best authority for conditions in the country 
prior to its formation is notes that are to be gathered from 
the records of travellers visiting the Albemarle section. 

The territory included in Gates County was first settled 
about 1660, Tradition has it that the first settlement was 

60 Historical Papers 

made near Corapeake (then Oropeake, an Indian name) about 
two miles from the Virginia line and in what is now Holley 
Grove Township. The first record we have of a visit to this 
section, is that of George Fox, the great Quaker preacher, who 
visited the country about 1672. He came by way of Summer- 
ton, Virginia, and proceeded to what is now Gatesville, the 
county seat of Gates, and reports to have seen only one house 
during the trip of twelve miles. He describes the country as 
being very barren, especially on the sand ridges, and the many 
swamps and marshes made his travel slow. He reports only 
one house at Bonner's Creek (now Bennett's), the present 
site of Gatesville. Here he spent the night and made the best 
he could of the pioneer accommodations and on the next day 
proceeded down the creek to the Chowan River and thence to 
Edenton, then the most important place in the Province of 
Carolina. The tradition has it that the first settlement was at 
Corapeake, one mile from the Dismal Swamp, and Fox en- 
tered the colony ten miles to the west. Probably there were 
houses in the western part of what is now Gates that he did 
not see. 3 

It is evident that settlers came in rapidly after 1705, for in 
1711 a visitor reports that a Mr. Mashburn was conducting a 
school at Sarum and that he had children under him who could 
read and write. From all indications this school was for the 
Indians and was supported by the Society for the Propagation 
of the Gospel, a society in England organized to establish 
churches in America. This same place is called Indian Town 
in 1719 when an Episcopal Chapel, the first in the region, was 
established there. 4 

When William Byrd surveyed the dividing line between 
North Carolina and Virginia in 1730, he was in territory that 
later became Gates County for more than a month, and from 
his reports one is led to believe that there were a good many 
inhabitants at that time ; he writes that the priest accompanying 
the expedition married a few people and baptized many chil- 
dren. The impression one gets from reading Byrd's History 
of the Dividing Line is that these early people of the section 
were very primitive, and for the most part very idle. He re- 
cords that they had adopted the Indians custom of letting the 

Gates County to 1S60 61 

women do all the work in the fields while the men sat around 
and smoked. The people lived in log huts and showed no 
signs of being discontented with their lot. Their only ambition 
was not to live in Virginia : to live in North Carolina meant 
less, and often, no tax. 5 

By 1758 the country was taking forward steps ; in that year 
the first post route in Xorth Carolina was established, running 
from Suffolk, Virginia, to Edenton, and on to Wilmington. 
This route passed through Gates and gave the people the oppor- 
tunity to come in touch with the civilized world. In all proba- 
bility this route went through Summerton, Sarum, and by 
Pipkin's Store.* It is true the route through Corpeake and 
Sunbury was nearer and there was a road running that way, 
as the accounts of travellers show, but Summerton was quite 
a trading place and there must have been several houses at 
Sarum. Also there was a stage coach some twenty years later 
from Suffolk to Wilmington by way of Sarum, and in all prob- 
ability the coach line would follow the route of the mail line. 8 

Xo definite conclusions can be reached through a study 
of the notes made by those who travelled the country in these 
early days. Some describe it as barren and destitute, covered 
with sand hills and swamps ; other reports are more favorable. 
J. F. D. Smythe makes the following entry : "We remained 
in Edenton only a few days and then persued our journey 
northward, through a country covered with sand and pines, a 
country- dead flat, infested with swamps, and the land every- 
where miserably poor and barren. On the second day after 
we left Edenton, in North Carolina, we came to a town called 
Suffolk, in Virginia, having travelled around on the edge of 
the Great Dismal Swamp the principal part of the journey." 
Smythe made his tour in 1783. 7 

Some travellers coming before Smythe when the country 
was in all probability not so well developed, give a different ac- 
count. About 1760 the young George Washington, who was 
rising into prominence by virtue of his surveys for the great 
Fairfax estate, came to the country. His mission was to in- 
vestigate the possibility of constructing internal waterways 

. * C T ntU a fv-.v .ears ago there stood in Gates County, at Pipkin's, an old tavern 
I "Pipkin's Inn" and according .o tradition this adds one more to those 
infinitesimal" number of places where General Lafayette was entertained. 6 

62 Historical Papers 

as to open up the section. This was a business scheme and his 
observation can be reckoned as based on intense study. He has 
the following to say of the country that is now Gates County 
and its probability of betterment: "The Main Swamp of Oro- 
peake is about one-half onward from this, where stands the 
widow Norrlets, Mi & Luke Sumner's Plantations. This swamp 
cannot be less than 203 yards across, but does not nevertheless 
discharge as much water as Cypress Swamp. At the mouth 
of this swamp is a very large meadow of 2 or 3000 acres, held 
by Sumner, Widow Norflet, Marmaduke Norflet, Powel and 
others, and valuable ground it is." 8 

In 1777 Ekannah Watson passed over the same road trav- 
elled by Smythe and Washington and he writes: u Proceed- 
ing: from Suffolk to Edenton, North Carolina, we passed 
over a spacious and level road through a pine forest, which, 
being in this district extended quite across in North Carolina. 
We travelled near the north border of the Great Dismal 
Swamp, which at this time was infested by concealed loyalist 
and runaway slaves, who could not be approached with safety. 
They often attack travellers and had recently killed a Mr. 
Williams. We entered North Carolina late in the day, availing 
ourselves of the hospitality so characteristic of southern man- 
ners, and threw ourselves upon the kindness of Mr. Granby,* 
a wealthy farmer and merchant." 9 

Five years later Watson again came to the same section and 
this time he found Gates County organized. He has the fol- 
lowing to say, which throws a good deal of light on the exist- 
ing conditions of the time in all of the mediocre communities 
of the State and of the South: "At Suffolk I had no alterna- 
tive but to embark in a returning coal-cart, with one miserable 
horse and a black boy as driver. I embarked this mode of con- 
veyance in order to reach the house of Mr. Granby, a wealthy 
planter of Gates County where I had been hospitably enter- 
tained in '77. I was compelled to travel two hours, in intense 
darkness, in this Tvbun-like style, amid a storm of rain; and I 

* This Mr. Granby was one of the most wealthy men in the county and lived 
about where Sunbury is now located. As was frequently the custom, the place 
was called after the leading man in the community and thus a place grew up 
called Granby and can he found on the man by that name. Later it came to 
be called Sunsbury and then Sunbury. There is an old bridge near Sunbury 
that retains the name of Granby. 10 

Gates County to 1SG0 63 

arrived dripping wet and bespotted with mud." The writer 
goes on to say that Granby did not recognize him as his visitor 
of '77 and wished to turn him out in the rain, but almost by 
force the traveller went into the house where he found a 
dancing party. Once in the light Granby recognized the 
traveller as his visitor of rive years back and made profuse 
apologies. 11 

Thus from the records of these three men who visited the 
region that later became Gates county and who passed over the 
same route, we get an entirely different impression of condi- 
tions. It is very evident that the period that had elapsed since 
Byrd was in the community was one marked by progress. 
The country was opened, progress was on foot, things went 
forward by leaps and bounds ; in fact all evidence leads to the 
belief that the period from 1740-1780 was the period in which 
the country that later became Gates County made great prog- 
ress. By 1790 the people of the county compared favorably 
with those that lived in wealthy counties of the state. It was 
during this period that the log hut was abandoned and a more 
comfortable structure erected ; slavery was introduced ; lands 
were opened up ; roads wefe laid out ; churches established — 
in short it was during this period that the county took on all of 
those things that go to make up southern culture of the eigh- 
teenth century. There were a number of substantial people 
who were recognized throughout the section, men had begun 
to build up considerable fortunes, and from all evidence they 
were intensely interested in local and national issues. 

The first Federal Census taken in 1790 shows that the 
county had a population at that time of 5,372. Of this number 
73 were free negroes, 2,219 were slaves and 3,080 were 
free whites. There were listed 348 families in the county 
who had slaves and 282 who did not hold slaves. None 
of the slave-holders were exceedingly wealthy, most own- 
ed a few slaves, none a very- large number. The outlook 
for progress was very bright ; there was room for active com- 
petition, there was no apparent danger of a few men domi- 
nating the whole county. The distribution of slaves was as 
follows : 

'64 Historical Papers 

Families who owned from 1 to 5 slaves 205 

Families who owned from 5 to 10 slaves 69 

Families who owned from 10 to 20 slaves 53 

Families who owned from 20 to 30 slaves 14 

Families who owned from 30 to 40 slaves 7 

Apparently there was no family in the county which held 
over 40 slaves and the seven owners who held over thirty- 
slaves were : 

Name Residence Number of Slaves 

Miles Benton Wiggins X Roads 40 

John Baker .Lower Part of County 32 

Josiah Granber ry Sunbury 30 

Isaiah Pipkins Near Reynoldson 34 

Thomas Hunter Xear Sunbury 33 

Cornud Orin (Orund ?) Xear Drumhill 31 

William Baker Below Gatesville 35 

From this background it is evident that Gates County came 
out of the Revolutionary War with as good prospects for de- 
velopment as could be desired. Proportionally she was about 
as rich as any of the counties except those with the larger 
towns, such as Chowan, Orange, and New Hanover. The sec- 
tion was having a wave of prosperity and development. In 
1790 the Dismal Swamp Canal was chartered and work was 
soon begun on it ; a little time and money would connect the 
county with this waterway and with Norfolk. However, in 
spite of these seeming advantages the development of the 
county from 1790-1860 does not compare favorably with that 
of other counties in the state. Gates seems to have made few 
steps forward. The population increased slowly ; industries 
not at all. To account for this stagnation is difficult. It is 
due to some extent to the failure to build canals, which will be 
taken up later. Again there was a general depression through- 
out the extreme eastern counties when the lands to the west 
were being opened. Many left the county and went to join 
the rich land-owners and slave-holders in the far south. Those 
who were the thrifty and the most prosperous, — the Browns, 
Granberys, Orunds, Carrs, and Beamons — were all led to the 
south by the allurement of joining the large class of slave- 
holders. Again those who stayed at home did not conduct 
their plantations in such a way as to make them profitable. 

Gates Gouivty to 1860 65 

In investigating the social conditions in the county prior to 
1860 the first factor to he considered is the negro — first the 
free negro, then the slave. 


In Gates County the negro was never a political problem; 
there is no evidence of the abolition sentiment being strong 
enough to feature in politics. The negro, both free and slave, 
was a problem of social rather than political importance. 

The free negroes held a position in Gates County similar 
to that held by the same class in the mediocre communities 
throughout the state. They were not sufficient in number to 
cause any apprehension until the insurrection in Southampton 
County, Virginia; after that uprising the people were diligent 
in their watch over both the free negro and the slave. The 
figures gathered from the census for 1790 to 1860 give the 
following facts concerning the number of free negroes and 
slaves 13 

Free Negroes Slaves 

1790 72 2219 

1800 82 2688 

1810 Ill 2790 


1830 327 ' .3648 

1840 381 3647 

1850 396. 3876 

1860 361 3901 

Thus in the early days the number of free negroes in the 
county was not sufficient to cause any unrest on the part of the 
people. However as the years advanced the number increased 
more rapidly than the increase of either the slave or the white 
population. This increase was due to some extent to the pro- 
lific character of the negro race. However there were other 
factors at work. Many of the whites in the early days freed 
their slaves, for before the introduction of the cotton gin 
slavery was not a profitable institution. We find in the will of 
Joseph Riddick, one of the largest slave owners, provisions for 
freeing certain of his slaves. 14 Again it is very probable that 
many of the free negroes came into the county from Virginia, 
where the free negroes were plentiful; for during that period 

66 Historical Papers 

that the free negroes fall off there are indictments in the county 
courts against free negroes coming into the county from other 
states contrary to the state law. In 1844 fourteen free negroes 
were indicted by the grand jury of the county for coming in 
from Virginia without permission. 13 What the court did with 
these negroes cannot be ascertained but it is reasonably certain 
that they did not leave the county. The names of those in- 
dicted, Collins, Boon, Brown and Copeland, are common to 
negroes in the county today who boast that they were of free 
ancestry. la the years from 1810-1830 the free negroes in- 
creased rapidly, as will be seen by the preceding table, but 
after 1840 the free negro population was practically stationary. 
Evidently the negroes immigrated to the county when the laws 
respecting free negroes were lax and often not enforced. 
When the state laws became more strict, especially when the 
trouble with the negroes in Southampton, Virginia, arose, there 
was pressure for local enforcement of the law. During the 
same period the tendency was stronger to free slaves than it 
was after the cotton gin gave the black an added value. After 
1840 the free negroes do not increase ; probably some went to 
the North where they could hold -a more commanding position. 
From 1850 to 1860 there was a slight decrease in the free negro 
population, as the table shows. It was during the period 
from 1810-1830, before the people had been awakened to their 
danger by the insurrection in Virginia, that the free negroes 
thrived in the county. 

Although there are no records of there being any schools 
for the free negroes in the county, the census of 1850 records 
over half of the male free negroes as being able to read and 
write. There are no records of them voting but every tax list 
carries a number of free black polls. It was the custom to 
make the negroes pay all the tax that could be extracted from 
them and even after the disfranchisement of the free negro 
in 1835 he was required to pay poll tax. 10 

The census records all the free negroes in the county as 
having white blood. 17 Although conditions were not as bad 
as they were in Hertford, where a large number of negrc 
were the direct descendants of prominent white men, the re- 
lation between the negroes and the whites was by no means to 

Gates County to i860 67 

be commended. It is probable that some of these free negToes 
with white blood came from other counties and multiplied in 
Gates ; however miscegenation existed to some extent in the 
county, for there was one prominent citizen, and in all proba- 
bility more, who kept negro concubines. This man built at 
his own expense a church for the free negroes ; this church 
was known as New Hope Baptist Church and part of the 
time had a free negro preacher. The church was built in 
1859 and no slaves were admitted ; even after the war it would 
not for a long time admit any negro who had been a slave, 
the line always being drawn between those "born free and 
those shot free." A negro by the name of William Reid preach- 
ed at this church before the war and among its principal mem- 
bers were the Cuffs, Rooks, Boons, and Copelands, all names 
prominent among the negroes of the county today. 18 

It is evident from the foregoing that the policy of the peo- 
ple of the county towards the free negro was comparatively 
mild. In fact it was so mild in the early period that it was a 
desirable place for the free negro to live, as immigration to the 
county bears evidence. The free negroes were comparatively 
few in number, especially before 1810, and after 1830 they in- 
creased very little, and all of them were mulattoes ; it is not 
strange that the policy towards them was lenient. 

The people of Gates County were easy-going and never 
worried, for they did not believe in commercializing life. "Live 
and be happy" was their motto. The slaves of the county lived 
in this atmosphere and their treatment was consequently mild. 
The master was fond of his slave very much as a kind man is 
fond of a good horse. The environment of the slaves must 
have been good for the mortality statistics of slaves in 1850 
are better than those of the whites. 19 Of course there were 
some cruel slave-owners and there were some bad slaves; but, 
if the information of those, both white and black, who re- 
member the ante-bellum days can be relied upon, the 
slave in Gates County had about as easy a time as a slave 
could expect. The strongest evidence that can be found to 
the contrary is the record of a case that reached the Supreme 
Court in 1843. A slave, Gilbert, was hired to one Parker by 
Copeland and the day before the slave was to be returned 

68 Historical Papers 

Parker attempted to punish him. Gilbert ran from Parker, who 
shot the negro in the back when at a distance of only 10 
feet. Only the smallness of the shot saved the negro. Cope- 
land brought suit against Parker for damage done his property, 
the negro. The Superior Court of Gates County decided that 
Parker had no right to shoot the slave unless the slave showed 
resistance and held that the owner should be compensated for 
any permanent damage clone to the slave. Parker appealed 
to the Supreme Court of the State which affirmed the decision 
of the lower court. This case shows that the tendency of the 
county was to protect the slave from mistreatment. 20 

As has already been stated the slaves were brought into 
this section between 1730 and 1760 in all probability, for it 
was during this period that the plantation system developed 
and the country prospered most. In the early days the number 
of slaves compared to the number of whites is very favorable, 
however after 1790 many of the counties in the state took on 
new life and slave and free negroes increased rapidly. No 
such conditions prevailed in Gates, as the following .table will 
illustrate: 21 

Year Slaves Whites 

1790 2219 3080 

1800 ........ 2688 3111 

1810 2790 3062 


1830 3648 3891 

1840 3647 .4130 

1850 , . . ; 3876 4159 

1860 3901 4181 

The statistics of 1790 compare well with those of other 
counties, but Gates was stationary from 1840-1860. In 1790 
the slaves were well divided among the people as a preceding 
table has illustrated; this condition prevailed up to the Civil 
War. .There is only one instance of one master owning as 
many as one hundred slaves and this was in 1860. His name 
was Mills Roberts and he lived in Mintonsviile Township. 
There were a score who held as many as fifty and half as 
many held seventy-five. 22 On the whole the number of slaves 
and the number of whites were about equal. In the early 
period the tendency was for the slaves to increase faster than 

Gates County to I860 69 

the whites, as is shown in the period 1800-1810, when the 
slave population made a slight increase and the white popu- 
lation a decline; however after that date the white population 
began to quicken its pace and in 1830 the slave population 
became stationary. 

Where the slave-owners held a great number of slaves, there 
was always a tendency to have severe laws ; the slaves being 
massed together and there being more danger of discontent 
and rebellion, it was natural for the laws to be more severe. 
The farmers of Gates County did not fall into the class of large 
slave owners, as did the planters of some of the other counties, 
and this may account to some extent for the laxity of the en- 
forcement of the somewhat lenient state laws. There were 
some bad slaves, to be sure, and these were dealt with in a 
high-handed manner when the crime was severe. As an ex- 
ample, a negro named Pete killed a white man in January, 
1803. The crime was committed in the morning and before 
noon he was outlawed by the county government. He was 
caught about two o'clock of the same afternoon. Five magis- 
trates of the county assembled at Gates Court House, the 
county seat, the same afternoon gave him a trial and he was 
sentenced and executed before night.- 3 However the slaves 
were seldom in court and their offences were generally buy- 
ing or selling some trifle ; the laxity of the court indicates their 
good behavior. The usual punishment for a slave buying or 
selling except for his master was thirty-nine lashes but this 
punishment was seldom imposed in Gates, especially during 
the early days. There are several instances of masters being 
indicted for allowing slaves to assemble in their kitchens after 
night, contrary to state law, and these masters were fined. 
The poor whites were also indicted for selling trifles, usually 
liquor, to negro slaves and were fined, the slave generally 
escaping punishment. 24 

There was only one time in the history of the county when 
the slaves threatened to cause trouble, after which we find 
the slave laws were enforced more rigidly and the free negroes 
were watched more closely. In August, 1831, the slaves led by 
a free negro preacher, Nat Turner, of Southampton County, 
Virginia, planned to have a great insurrection and kill off all 

70 Historical Papers 

the whites. The day was fixed, and the slaves all through the 
eastern part of Carolina and Virginia were to rise. The lead- 
ers got drunk and began the work Sunday before the fixed 
time but their plan did not succeed. However they succeeded 
in killing some fifty white people and alarming the entire sec- 
tion of the country before they could be stopped. When the 
people in Gates heard of the uprising, they left their farms and 
came to Gatesville, the men to join the militia and the women 
to be protected. Southampton County was not far away and 
in Hertford, the adjoining county in North Carolina, an upris- 
ing was expected every hour. The people in their distress 
wrote to the governor for aid. John Pipkins, head of the 
Gates County militia, wrote as follows : 

Gates Co., Augs. 23, 1831. 
His Excellency, Mdntford Stokes, 

Dear Sir, 
Our defenseless situation impells mc at this important crisis, to call 
on you for seme of the public arms to defend our families and our 
citizens. Not one-half the Regiment under my command is armed. 
We have just received news from our sister county (Hertford) the 
important intelligence of an insurrection in the county of South Hamp- 
ton, Va., and the town of Mufreesboro is hourly expected to be the 
next scene of bloodshed — The citizens are all in army and all the arms 
we can raise is now resorted to. 

About 200 armed negroes with musketts and bayonetts have made 
their first attack upon the citizens of South Hampton and have mur- 
dered 25 families and they are not as yet arrested in their bloody 
designs. About 1*30 stand of arms I think would be a great protection 
to us — and we need them immediately for our protection. 

I am yours with respect, 

(Signed) John D. Pipkin. 

However the people were not willing to trust their fate to one 
letter for they realized the eminent danger and they took pains 
to bring all possible -pressure to bear on the governor. The 
same day John B. Baker, a man of prominence living in Gates- 
ville, wrote to the governor as follows : 

Gates Court House, 23rd Augt. 

Yon, sir, no doubt have been informed that there is a serious in- 
surrection of the negroes in a neighboring County of Va., and the 
militia are now collecting here — But we have no arms — I had no 

Gates County to I860 73 

notion of so few that can be serviceable being in the hands of our 
regiment; we have, as tar as ascertained, not arms for one-third of 
the men. This is a wretched situation to be placed in, when all are 
alarmed, and I fear the most serious consequences if the danger should 
approach nearer to us. 

I am induced to make this statement to you to aid the statement 
of our Col., with whom you are not acquainted. If sir, you can do 
so, send us arms as soon as possible. One-hundred stands would place 
us probably out of danger. 

I do not send you the reports from Va. as no doubt you will have 
received them before this reaches you. They are more alarming than 
the report of any previous insurrection that I have any knowledge of. 

Yours most obediently, 

(Signed) John B. Baker. 

These two letters show something of the distress caused 
in the county by the insurrection in Southampton. There are 
no reports of any trouble with the negroes in the county trying 
to rebel. The troops rapidly assembled and in a few days the 
matter was over. But the people never forgot the uprising; it 
made a lasting impression upon them of the constant danger of 
the negro. Perhaps this has much to do with the more stringent 
enforcement of the slave laws of the state. Although there were 
no ordinances on slavery passed by the county court after the 
insurrection, there was certainly a more rigid enforcement of 
the laws passed by the state. Gates County raised troops to 
send to help out the inhabitants of Southampton and the legis- 
lature passed an act allowing the county and also Hertford to 
levy a tax to pay the expenses of mobilization of troops. The 
state also passed an act in 1833 providing for the more string- 
ent enforcement of the patrol laws in Gates County. 26 This 
law provided that the patrolmen should be paid, and provided 
for a tax to be levied on black polls to raise the necessary 
amount. No man could serve as a patrolman, except in case 
of an uprising, who did not own slaves. These measures were 
characteristic of the time and denote a feeling of unrest among 
the people over the negro question. 

Prior to these measures there is only one law to be found 
relating to the negro in the county. This was passed by the 
county court in 1808. At the February term of the Court 
of Pleas and Quarterly Sessions an ordinance was adopted pro- 
viding for patrolmen to keep the property around the Court 

12 Historical Papers 

House free from persons of color. This rule was made to 
keep away the free negroes who made it a practice to hang 
around while the court was in session. The ordinance also 
declared that any person who found such a negro between 
Bennett's Creek and David Southall's and brought him before 
the Court would be given a reward. This ordinance was un- 
doubtedly directed against the free negro, but it tends to illus- 
trate the attitude of the county toward the negro; if the negro 
would keep out of the way the white man did not molest him. 93 
These measures in the county were necessary to preserve 
slavery as an institution and were not unjustly severe. In the 
later days of slavery, slaves were tried in the same courts that 
white people were tried in. The attitude towards the negro 
was as lenient as could be expected. 


There is little material dealing with the schools in Gates, 
and from the sources that are available it seems evident that 
education played an insignificant part in the early days. As has 
already been intimated, a traveller reports a school at Sarum 
about 1710, but this school was supported by the Society for 
the Propagation of the Gospel and was for the Indians. 27 It 
is very probable that the people in Gates who gave their sons 
and daughters an education patronized schools out of the 
county. There was a good academy at Edenton, and very likely 
many attended schools in Virginia. 

The first mention of a public school in Gates County is a 
provision in the will of Miles Benton. This will was filed in 
the court house in Gatesville November 3, 1805. It reads in 
part as follows : "It is my will and desire that my land and 
plantation I purchased of Luke Sumner be sold by my execu- 
tors on a credit of twelve months and the money arising there- 
from to be let at interest and the interest arising from the prin- 
cipal to be applied to the building of a schoolhouse and hiring 
a teacher for the purpose of a free school and that schoolhouse 
be built within two miles of the places where I now reside 
and all the children within four miles of my place of residence 
be permitted to be taught in said school. It is my desire that 
the court appoint commissioners to superintend said free school 

Gates County to 1860 73 

from year to year during time." 28 The brother of Miles Ben- 
ton, John T. Benton, brought suit and the lands set aside by 
Miles Benton were lost by litigation and the school was never 
established. Although no evidence can be found to directly 
substantiate the fact, it is very probable that there were schools 
of some kind in the county before Benton provided for this 
public school ; for when Francis Asbury came to the county, he 
once remarks that Mrs. Bakers' son, Marmaduke, was "to have 
gone this day to finish his education at Princeton." 29 

In 1820 the first academy in the county was chartered. It 
was known as the Spring Hill Academy, located at Sarum, 
now Buckland. This was the place at which Mr. Mashburn 
ran his Indian Schoool in colonial days. The progress of this 
school, its course of study and teachers, are unknown. All 
that can be gathered is from the statute of incorporation and 
from the recollections of some former students. The charter 
of 1820 was made to Willis Cowper, Richard B. Gregory, 
Henry Pugh, and John B. Baker. They were made a body 
corporate who could sue and be sued, hold and dispose of 
property, and make such rules and fill such vacancies as they 
deemed to the best interest of the school. 30 Some elderly peo- 
ple say they attended this school just before the civil war and 
that a "goodly number'' of people in the county sent their 
children to it. 31 

The next academy to be chartered was the one at Sunbury. 
In 1832 the Legislature passed an act "To incorporate the Suns- 
bury Academy in the County of Gates." This charter was 
made to John C. Gorden, Joseph Gorden, Richard H. Parker, 
Henry Costin, Willis Riddick, Wells Cowper, Isaac R. Hunter, 
Edward K. Hunter, John Gatling, James Costin, Thomas 
Twim, Noah Harrell, Tillery W. Carr, and George Costin. 
This body was given the same powers that were given the in- 
corporators of Spring Hill Academy. The academy was lo- 
cated at Sunbury and was at first opened to both boys and 
girls. This plan did not work very well and in about seven 
years the academy was closed and a separate school was op- 
ened under private control. This institution had a select board- 
ing school located in the yard of the George Costen place, Sun- 
bury, open only to girls. There were three teachers and a 

74 Historical Papers 

music teacher. Two pianos were used in the music depart- 
ment; a course was given in French and other subjects char- 
acteristic of the select boarding schools were taught. Girls 
came to this school from adjoining counties and at one time 
the boarding pupils were nearly a score in number. In con- 
nection with this school for girls and under practically the 
same management, was a school for boys at the home of Mr. 
Gorden, about a mile and a half away. No girls were allowed 
to attend this school. The school at Gorden's was placed 
under the care of Mr. Kellogg, a graduate of Yale, and the 
select boarding school for girls was under the care of a lady 
from New England. Both of these schools were controlled by 
practically the same body of men that chartered the Academy. 32 

The same year the Sunbury Academy was incorporated, 
an academy was chartered at Gatesville. The charter was 
made to Thomas Saunders, Henry Gilliam, William G. Daugh- 
ter}', Jeptha Fowlker and William E. Pugh. This charter em- 
bodied the same powers that the previous charters granted in 
the county embodied. The academy was located at Gatesville 
and was known as the Gatesville Academy. 33 

These academies no doubt served well the needs of the 
more wealthy citizens of the county. There are many old 
people in the county who can point out the places where these 
academies stood and name a number of the teachers. All of 
these schools were private and tuition was charged those at- 
tending. However there are no records of there being any 
free or common schools until the proceeds of the Literary- 
Fund were distributed among the counties for the purpose of 
education in 1840. The census of 1840 records that there were 
at that time live common schools in the county. These five 
common schools were attended by one hundred and twenty- 
five pupils. For the same year only one academy is listed and 
this had forty-eight pupils. 34 It is impossible to tell whether 
the other academies had surrendered to the common schools 
or whether for some reason or other they failed to be listed. 

Under the system established by the Literary Fund, a 
county received from the state two dollars for every dollar 
that was raised for education in the county. Education took 
on life and the best schools the county had until Charles B. 

Gates County to i860 75 

Aycock awoke the state to its great need, were maintained 
from 1S40-1860. The census reports that in 1850 there were 
twelve common schools and twelve teachers and these schools 
had an enrollment of 520 pupils. Over $1,000 was spent in the 
county for education during the year. The same census re- 
ports that there were ten academies with a total enrollment of 
210 pupils. These academies had an income from students of 
$3,052 and were not endowed. 35 In 1859 the Board of Edu- 
cation in the county, through its chairman, S. W. Worrell, re- 
ported that there were twelve schools in the county and twelve 
teachers ; only two teachers were women. There were 308 
boys out of a possible 835 attending school and 258 girls out 
of a possible 744. The length of the school term for the year 
was seven months, the highest in the state with the exception 
of Halifax County, which also had seven months. During 
the year there was $2,679.85 in the hands of the chairman. 36 
The records of the Literary Fund show that from 1841 to 
1860 the annual appropriation for education in the county 
ranged from $556.00 to $1,790.00 contributed by the state, and 
one-half as much contributed by the county. 37 

The next and the last educational move in the county before 
the war was the establishment of the Reynoldson Academy. The 
charter for this academy was granted in 1850 to the Baptist 
churches of the Chowan Association. This association had 
established a school for girls at Murfreesboro in 1848; many 
men from Gates had been instrumental in aiding the school 
for girls and now demanded that the school for boys be located 
in Gates. The object of the proposed academy was to prepare 
the boys of the community for entrance to Wake Forest Col- 
lege. In 1853 John W. Willey, Dr. W r . H. Lee, J. D. Good- 
man, Edward Howell, R. L. Land, and E. B. D. Howell were 
appointed to select a suitable place and supervise the construc- 
tion of the academy. The summit of the rising ground in 
front of Piney Grove Baptist Church, Reynoldson or Brick 
House Township, Gates County, was selected. The name 
Reynoldson was given the school to express the love and 
esteem held for a Baptist minister whose work in the Associa- 
tion had been praiseworthy. 

"Soon a large, commodious and handsome building was 

76 Historical Papers 

erected, nicely finished, and furnished with more than the usual 
academic outfit. A small, but choice selection of chemical and 
philosophical apparatus was secured at a cost of $600. A 
large, convenient and comfortable hotel was built and furnish- 
ed for the accommodation of the teachers and pupils. It was 
not long before a store was opened and a post office." Rey- 
noldson was one of the best schools in the entire section and its 
boarding attendance was encouraging. Some of the students 
came from Virginias many from adjoining counties. The place 
selected had many good qualities ; it was quiet, not half dozen 
houses within a mile, "a cool spring of water and a Baptist 
church within sight of the location." 

The school was opened in 1355 under the auspices of James 
K. Delke. a graduate of the University of North Carolina. 
Charles Rawls, of Nansemond County, Virginia, was assistant. 
The next year George Morgan of Gates County, was added to 
the force of teachers. The school was a success and many 
wanted to turn it into a college. A committee was appointed 
to .investigate the matter but it advised against such action. 
From the wording of their report there must have been con- 
siderable feeling over the matter throughout the Association. 
In 1857 the Principal had trouble with the boarding depart- 
ment. Investigation was made of the condition of the school 
and a debt of S2,500 was reported. As a remedy the board de- 
cided to change the teaching force and Boushall, of Camden 
County, and Ellis, of Wilmington, N. C, were elected joint 
principals. Together they ran the school successfully until 
1861 when Ellis left and Tames Taylor, of Gates County, a 
graduate of Wake Forest, became associated with Boushall. 
Soon it was closed for both teachers and pupils were called to 
take their places at the front. The record of the school was 
good, the situation was desirable. In 1856 the legislature 
passed an act forbidding liquor being sold within two miles of 
the school grounds; 38 the attendance was large and there are 
many men in the county today who received their education at 
the Reynoldson Military Institute."' 

From the study of available sources the conclusion must 
necessarily be drawn that in the early days of the county the 
people contributed little time and less money to the education 

Gates County to 1860 77 

of their children. If the child received a fair education before 
1820. he mast leave the county; and if he was educated in one 
of the academies established during the period that followed, 
he must pay tuition. Some of the children attended schools 
out of the county, such as the son of Widow Baker, already 
referred to, bur the great majority before 1820, from all evi- 
dence, never had the advantage of even a common school edu- 
cation. The period of the academies, 1820-1840, did not better 
the condition very much, for most of the teachers were brought 
from other states and the tuition had to be made so high to pay 
them that only the children of the more wealthy could afford to 
attend. However with the establishment of schools by the Lit- 
erary Fund the county took a new interest in education. Free 
schools were established throughout the county and all who 
wished to could attend a seven months school without paying 
any tuition. Then there were the academies that the children 
of the more wealthy could attend. This system of education 
was brought to an end by the Civil War ; for several decades 
the people grew up in ignorance partly because they were lazy 
and partly because they could do no better. It took Aycock to 
re-awaken the people to their duty to child and state. 


During the colonial period the Society for the Propagation 
of the Gospel was interested in establishing churches in Am- 
erica. This society was active in the Albemarle section and 
with the aid of the vestry in Edenton it succeeded in estab- 
ing churches in several of the eastern counties. The first of 
these churches to be established in Gates County was at Indian 
Town (Sarum) which was directed, in 1719, to be built at a 
cost not to exceed $150. 40 This church was active, as were the 
other chapels of the Church of England, until about fifteen 
years before the Revolutionary War. In 1720 Mr. Paul Phil- 
lips was lay reader at the chapel ; in 1723 Rev. Thomas New- 
man was paid for holding twenty services a year. In 1724 Mr. 
Thomas Rountree was reader at the place near Mr. Abraham 
Hill's, the location of which is not known. In 1732 Mr. John 
Chanpion was paid £15 for shingling the chapel near Indian 

78 Histosical Papers 

Town and in 1738 he repaired the church again and the vestry 
met there. 41 

The next year it was ordered by the vestry that two chapels 
be built, each thirty-five feet long, twenty-two and one-half 
feet wide and a pitch of eleven feet ; one was to be erected at 
James Costen's "(near Sunbury). and one at James Bradley's 
(location unknown). The one ordered to be built at Sunbury 
was erected, and the people used it under the auspices of the 
established church until a few years before the Revolution. The 
Hunters, Costens, and Gordons, were the leading families 
in this church. The other chapel that was ordered to be built 
was probably never constructed, for no trace of a chapel near 
James Bradley's can be found. However this chapel may have 
been the one erected the next year by a man named Parker 
and known as the Knotty Pine Chapel. This chapel was erect- 
ed at a cost of forty-two pounds and ten shillings and was 
located six miles from Gatesville On the contrary we find 
that in 1744 Mr. Henry Baker gave one acre of land and the 
timber to build a chapel on the Knotty Pine Swamp and he was 
given the privilege to build a pew in any part of the church he 
pleased. 42 These churches may have been the same, or per- 
haps there were two chapels near Gatesville. 

Besides these records we find that there were several other 
chapels in the county before the Revolutionary War. In 1744 
it was ordered that the old chapel near Sandy Pine* be sold 
and a new one built at Tottering Bridge and that Thomas 
Hunter and Richard Bond attend to the matter. The old 
chapel was sold for $95. Again there was a chapel in the 
county known as Farlee's Chapel ; this chapel was doubtless 
somewhere near Sunbury (possibly at the Folley) for we find 
that Mr. Abraham Norfleet, who lived at Sunbury, was lay 
reader at the chapel in 1754. 43 

These churches no doubt were well supported by the people 
as is shown bv za& rapid increase in number and by the con- 
stant repairing and enlargement. In 1757 Mr. Elisha Hunter 
was appointed to repair and tar the three chapels, Constance's 
(at Sunbury), Farlee's and Knotty Pine, and cause glass win- 

* This was prohaWv Safidy Cross for we find that there was a chapel here 
and Joseph Reddick was one of the leaders. 

Gates County to I860 79 

dows and sashes to be fixed in each. The church wardens 
were ordered to provide for the three chapels three quart- 
tankards, three pewter pint cups or cans, three table cloths 
and three napkins. Thus it is certain that these churches had 
good attention and the men who served them were of a high 
type. ^Ir. Gordon, who came over from England as a mis- 
sionary, was especially commended for his clean life. The 
same rector that served the people in Edenton generally preach- 
ed at Farlee's, Constance's and Knotty Pine. "In 1747 Rev. 
Clement Hall was ordered to preach at Constance's Chapel 
from Lady Day to Michaelmas and on ye Saturday at ye house 
of Mr. James Farlee." 44 Again in 1754 Rev. Mr. Hall, the 
first man in North Carolina to write a book, officiated twenty- 
one Sundays at Farlee's, Sarum (Indian Town), and Con- 
stance's, and the remainder of the time at Edenton. These 
records all go to show that the religious condition of the 
country where Gates County is now situated was good before 
the Revolution. The church wardens that had charge of the 
church were not only officers of the church but they were pri- 
marily civil officers. These churches were attended by the 
most wealthy men in the section. Josiah Granberry, Timothy 
Walton, Richard Bond, Jethro Benton, Luke Sumner, and 
Elisha Hunter were all leaders in the church at Sunbury. 44 
It is certain that some of the men- named above were most ac- 
tive in the movement for independence. The Sumner named 
above was of the same family as General Jethro Sumner, the 
Revolutionary hero; and Luke Sumner was himself a mem- 
ber of the Committee of Safety of the Edenton district. 

For over thirty years after 1775 there is no record of a 
church in the proper sense existing in the county. There were 
societies, it is true, and there were some few persons who met 
for religious purposes but there was. no church with a building 
and a preacher until the establishment of the Middle Swamp 
Baptist Church in 1S06. The absence of churches immediately 
after the Revolutionary War does not necessarily indicate a 
lack of interest in bpiritual things. It is true that religious en- 
thusiasm did not run as high during this period as it did for 
several years after the great revivals that took place from 
1800 to 1850; however there was some interest as is shown by 

80 Historical Papees 

the continual visits of such men as Asbury and Burkett. The 
aid that the English societies had given to the Established 
Church was withdrawn and it threw the religious steering 
gear out of place. The people were at a loss as to how to pro- 
ceed ; the entire church policy had always been shaped by the 
royal government. Doubtless the people accepted religion more 
as a social policy than as a means to salvation. However peo- 
ple were not enough interested in religious questions to erect 
churches and ask for ministers. Those who attended services 
at all went to the churches on the border of the Virginia-Caro- 
lina line. There was a church at Summerton, a church at Cy- 
press, and probably other churches for those who were disposed 
to attend. No doubt these churches along the line hindered 
religious progress in the county. Those who were wealthy and 
able to erect churches went to these border churches and were 
somewhat slow in aiding churches in their immediate vicinity. 
When churches were finally established in the county, it is a 
notable fact that they were almost invariably erected where 
the old established churches of the pre-Revolutionary period 
had stood, and in several instances the old buildings were 


The first church to be established in the county after the 
Revolution was the Middle Swamp Baptist Church. This 
church was one of the eighteen churches that went to make 
up the Chowan Association which was formed in 1806. Most 
of the churches that constituted the new association had been 
members of the Kehukee Association. These churches with- 
drew from the old association when the general division of the 
Baptist Church over the question of paid clergy and educa- 
tion came .up. There is no record of Middle Swamp ever 
being a member of the Kehukee Association and in all proba- 
bility it was formed about the same time these other churches 
withdrew and formed the Chowan Association. This first 
church cast its lot as favoring education by the church and in 
favor of paying its clergy. The other churches of the county 
that were organized at later dates were influenced by this 
church and they, too, went with the Missionary Baptists. 4j 

Gates Couxty to 1S00 81 

In 1776 the Western Branch Baptist Church was consti- 
tuted in Xansemond County, Virginia, and five years later 
the Ballard Bridge Church in Chowan County, North Caro- 
lina, was organized. These two churches were close together 
for churches in those days and they were often served 
by the same minister. In going from one of the churches to 
the other the road lay through Gates County and by the 
place where the present Middle Swamp Baptist Church stands. 
The ministers in going from one church to another, especially 
Lemuel Burkett, often spent the night and held prayer-meet- 
ings in the neighborhood of the present church. These prayer- 
meetings were held in the homes of Tames Pruden, Micajah 
Riddick, Mrs. Granberry. Lewis Walters, and Abram Morgan, 
and it was out of these little meetings that the first Baptist 
Church in the county sprang. 413 

The first building was a log house built across the road 
from the present church. It was from all description? an un- 
imposing structure with mud between the logs to keep the wind 
away. Soon this became inadequate to accommodate the grow- 
ing congregation and a frame building was erected on the same 
side of the road on which the present building stands. Later 
this was torn away and another larger and more imposing 
building was erected, mainly through the activity of Mr. Willie 
Riddick. In 1874 a fourth structure, and a few years ago the 
present and fifth building, were erected. Such has been the 
growth of this church founded by those old preachers of an- 
other century. It is said that one of the new churches was 
to have a stove, something novel, as the old custom had been 
to have no fire in the church. Many of -the old people objected 
to this worldly feature. They did not think a church was the 
proper place for a stove and for a time it brought on a feeling 
that threatened to destroy the brotherly sentiment in the . 
church. It was only by wise leadership and cautious move- 
ments 'that the congregation was kept together. 4 " 

All of these early churches had negro as well as white 
members. After the Civil War the Middle Swamp- Colored 
Baptist Church was organized and the colored members went 
to that church. 

There were no more Baptist churches in the county until 


82 Historical Pape 


the organization of Piney Grove Church at Reynoidson in 
1827. Why a church was located at this place, it is hard to 
determine. There is no record of any Baptist families being 
especially active in this locality and it does not offer a very 
imposing place for a church. However the church seemed 
to thrive and was always in good standing. This church was 
founded by John Harrell, an elder in the Middle Swamp 
Church, with the assistance of Elders Delke, Daniels, and 
Rice. Then there was Cool Springs (below Gatesville; and 
Sandy Cross churches organized in I82S. The church at 
Sandy Cross was strong in its membership in the early 
days. It was located in the midst of a Democratic strong- 
hold and Joseph Riddiek and Whit Stallings were both mem- 
bers of the church. The services were first conducted in the 
old Episcopal chapel located in the community and later a new 
church was erected. Elder Q. H. Trotman, a native of Per- 
quimans County and a member of the board of trustees of 
Wake Forest College, was the most influential man in the 
church for many years. He was very popular and it is told 
that the section offered to give him strong support if he would 
run for Congress, but he declined on account of his ministerial 
duties. He was pastor of this church for twenty-eight years. 48 

What Natheniel Pruden was to Middle Swamp and John 
Harrell to Piney Grove, Shadrach W. Worrell was to the 
Gatesville Church. He moved to Gatesville about 1837 and 
was chiefly instrumental in organizing a Baptist Church and 
building a house of worship in that place. The church was 
constituted in 1854 and admitted into the Chowan Association 
in 1855. While in Gatesville, Worrell also served as pastor 
of Cool Springs and Middle Swamp churches. After the war 
he went to Baltimore where he was unsuccessful as a commis- 
sion merchant, editor and broker. The last days of his life 
were spent in poverty. 49 

In addition to these five churches there was a congregation 
at Watery Swamp, admitted into the Chowan Baptist Associa- 
tion in 1851. This church, from all evidences did not prosper, 
for we find that it made no report to the Association after 
1857 and was consequently dropped. 

These Baptist churches have been instruments for good 

Gates County to 1860 J83 

in the county. Always aggressive, they have contributed 

much to the Baptist Association. They have sent out fully fif- 
teen ministers and many of the members have been patrons of 
Wake Forest College. Through their efforts at Reynolds rn 
they gave the people the best school in the county and m 
it possible for many of the present citizens to secure an edu- 


The first record of a Methodist sermon being preached in 
Gates County is recorded in Asbury's Journal, Saturday. De- 
cember 17, 1785. Asbury records that he preached at Brother 
Reddick's in Gates County. North Carolina. Evidently As- 
bury had been in the county before, for he speaks familiarly of 
the people. He also records having preached at Cypress 
Chapel several times before this record of his preaching at 
"Brother Reddick's." It was at Cypress Chapel that he met 
for the first time James O'Keily who later withdrew from the 
Methodist and formed the Christian Church. 

Asbury was in the county again in 1787 and preached at 
Knotty Pine, an old Episcopal chapel built near Sarum during 
the colonial period. He preached here Sunday. February 11, 
1787, and reports that he had a large congregation and an 
"open time." Although this is the first account in the journal 
of his being at Knotty Pine it is probable that he had been there 
before, for he speaks of there being "quite a little revival." 50 

It will be needless to give an account of all the visits of 
Asbury to the county. His first visit was in 1785 and the las: 
one is recorded in 1810. During this time he came to the 
county no less than thirteen times to preach. Doubtless he 
made other visits that are not recorded in his journal, which 
became rather sparing in the later years of his ministerial work. 
The preaching was done in the old Episcopal chapels or in the 
house of some friend. He visited the home of one Mr. Baker, 
who lived below Gatesvilie. on nearly all of his trips. This 
Mr. Baker was probably the son of Lawrence Baker, a wealthy 
citizen of the colonial period. Asbury indicates that the 
Baker's were oeople of some means, for he once notes that 
they had just built a new house and again he arrived just as 
their son, Marmaduke. who was to have "gone this day to 

84 Historical Papees 

finish his education at Princeton," died. This man is also re- 
ferred to once as Colonei Baker. 

During the first visits Asbury made it a point to preach at 
Knotty Pine but after 1S01 he preached at Gates Court House 
instead. Baker lived near Kotty Pine but even after Asbury 
stopped his ministry there he never failed to visit the Bakers 
on his trips through the county. When he went to Gatesville 
(or Gates Court House as it was then called), he often stopped 
at Daniel SourhalFs and sometimes preached at his house ; 
sometimes he preached at the Court House that stood on the lot 
in front of the present court house. On Thursday, March 10, 
1803, he ordained B. Harrall to the deacon's office. "He is a 
man of good repute, without slaves." 

Asbury visited Sunbury at least twice and preached in 
Constance's Chapel or the house of Isaac Hunter, his journal 
does not make it definite which. Monday, March 11, 1799. 
he says : "We rode to Constant's chapel, on one of the branches 
of Bennett's Creek. ... I was made very comfortable in 
in soul and body at Isaac Hunter's ; and had a happy meeting 
with the poor Africans at night." Asbury's efforts must not 
have been of much avail at Sunbury for two years later he 
says : "We went forward to Isaac Hunter's, twelve miles. 
Alas for this place ! Five souls of the white — some poor Af- 
ricans are seeking the Lord." 

Asbury was the man who planted Methodism in Gates 
County. He came and labored among the people ; he was in 
the county at least thirteen times and probably more, during 
his labors. The conditions were not always encouraging to 
him ; sometimes he says the people are wicked and would not 
listen to him and declares he will never come to them again. 
At other times he finds that they give him a warm welcome 
and come out in great numbers to hear him preach. The first 
Methodist Church in the county was erected in 1812 and we 
have no record of Asbury being in the county after 1810. 
However ire may have preached in this church for he was cer- 
tainly in Norfolk and Suffolk several times after 1812* 


*Asbnry*6 Journals contain the following references to being in me county. 
Jan. 1, 1783, (Vol. 1, p. 435): „ ,_„ . . _ 

Saturday, DecemDer 17, 1785, preached at "Brother Riddick's (Vol. a. V 

Gates County to 1860 85 

During these visits of Asbtiry no churches were built and 
no regular organization was perfected. However Methodism 
was being established. At the various places where the Bishop 
preached societies were organized and services were held. 
There is no specific reference to any of these organizations in 
Asbury's Journal, but reliable tradition says that as early as 
1800 there was a society in the neighborhood of what is now 
Parker's Church, and that the society met at the home of 
Thomas Parker. Tradition also has it that Asbury preached 
at this home. Again we find that Mrs, Baker, who lived 
near Knotty Pine and of whom Asbury spoke so often dur- 
ing his visits to the county, wrote to Asbury concerning 
the condition of the Society in her neighborhood. It is 
from such societies as these that Methodist churches in 
Gates County sprang. In all of the early records of the 
churches we find that the first members were listed as be- 
coming Methodist long before the churches were established 
in the community. On the roll of KittrelFs Church, Milly 
Williams's name heads the list and the year 1781 is given as 
the time when she became a Methodist, and the church was 
not organized until 1827. Sarah Karrell's name heads the list 
at Gatesville and the date of her becoming a Methodist is 
stated as 1801. These people no doubt were received into the 
societies organized by Asbury ; when these societies became 
sufficiently strong, churches were built and a definite organi- 
zation was made/' 1 

The first Methodist church in the county was Savage's. 
This church dates back to 1811. The deed for the church 
property is dated November 21, 1812, and is made by John 

Sunday, February 11, 1787, preached at Knotty Pine (Vol. II, p. 6); 

Monday, February 28, 1788, preached at Knotty Pine (Vol. II, p. 25); 

Tuesday, January 11. 1791, "Brother Baker's" (Vol. II, p. 105); 

Friday, January 27, 1792, records being in Gates County (Vol. II, p. 14); 

Friday and Saturday, December 2 and 3. records being in Gates and at the 
house bf.Cofcmel Baker (Vol. IF, p. 323); 

Friday to Monday^ March 8-11, in Gates and at Knotty Pine, Gates Court- 
house and Constant's Chape! (Vol. II, p. 407); 

Wedhesdav, March 18,' 1801, at Gates CoitrMiouse (Vol. Ill, p. 15); 

Friday. March 20, 1801, at Isaac Hunter's (Vol. Ill, p. 15); 

Thursday, April 2, 1801, Knotty Pine (Vol. Ill, p. 18); 

Thursdav, March 10, 1803, Gates Court-house (Vol. Ill, p. 106); 

Friday, March 9, 1804, at Gates Court-house (Vol.. Ill, p. 148); 

Tuesday, February 4, 1806, Knotty Fine (Vol. Ill, p. 215); 

Thursday, February 6, 1806, Gates Court-house (Vol. Ill, p. 215); 

Friday, January 19, 1810, Knotty Pine and Gates Court-house (Voi. Ill, p. 

Monday, January 22, 1810, records being in Gates County (Vol. Ill, p. 329). 

80 Historical Papers 

Savage to Jonathan Williams, Jessie Savage, and John Oden, 
trustees. 52 The old church stood about where the present 
structure is and the old building was repaired several time? 
before the erection of the modern one in 1907. The society 
that built the first church supposedly grew out of a society 
organized and frequently visited by Asbury at one Deacon 
Hasletts, near Summerton. 

The next church to be organized in the county was Par- 
ker's. This church grew out of a society that tradition says 
was organized and visited by Asbury (there is no record of it 
in his journals) at Wiggins X Roads. Later the society met 
at the home of Thomas Parker about one mile from the loca- 
tion of the present Parker's Church. Nothing definite is 
known of this society but it is evident that it was organized as 
early as 1800. In 1813 this same Thomas Parker gave the 
land on which the church was built. This church has had four 

The church at Sunbury (Philadelphia) and the one at 
Gatesville grew out of the old chapels that had been erected in 
the colonial days, just as the Baptist church at Sandy Cross 
grew out of an old chapel. When Asbury visited the county, 
he preached at these chapels. It was natural for the people to 
come to the same place to worship that they had come to as 
little children forty years back. W r e find that Isaac Hunter's 
name heads the list of Philadelphia. It is also noteworthy that 
one Isaac Hunter was very prominent in the old Constant's 
Chapel under the colonial rule. When at Constant's, in 1801, 
Asbury preached to the negroes and from the remarks in his 
journal he had more hope for these black souls than he did for 
the white people of the community. 53 During his visit in 
Gatesville in 1803, Asbury ordained one R. Harrell as a deacon 
and doubtless this man played a prominent part in the develop- 
ment of Methodism in that section of the county. The first 
church at Sunbury was erected sometime after 1815; the date 
of the appointment of trustees is thus dated but no record of 
a building or a deed can be obtained. The Gatesville church 
was built about 1828. Jesse Brown, Reuben Harrell and 

* This is secured from local tradition and cannot be relied upon altogether. 
However with the aid of the church records beginning some years later and an 
occasional deed the facts are to be relied upon as stated fairly accurately. 

Gates County to 1860 87 

Thomas Wright Hayes were its founders. Of these churches, 
as of the others, little is known. 

Of the remaining four Methodist churches organized be- 
fore I860, still less is known. Kittrells was organized in 
1827 through the offorts of George Kittrell, a local preacher. 
There was a quarrel in Savage Church and the dissent- 
ing element withdrew and formed Kittrells, two miles away. 
It was at this church that Henry Willey, the most prominent 
Whig of the county, held his membership. Allied with him 
were the Crosses, Williams, Parkers, and Kittrells. 54 It is 
evident from the names on the roll of those who went to make 
up this membership that the church was strong, not so much 
in number as in personnel. The people in this community 
were building a new church when the war came on and it was 
decided best to put off construction until after the cessation of 
hostilities. Then there is Zioirs church which was built in 
1820. The church grew out of protracted services that were 
held under an arbor not far from the location of the present 
church. The deed for the church property was made October 
6, 1819, by Samuel Brown and his wife, Sarah Brown, to Tim- 
othy Walton, Jonathan Lassiter, Samuel Brown, John B. 
Walton, John Walton, Richard Bond and John Davis, trus- 
tees. 55 

Fletcher's Chapel and Harrell's church were both organ- 
ized before I860. The date of Fletcher's is 1849 and the man 
most instrumental in its construction was Asa Horler ; nothing 
more is known of its early history. 5 * 3 As to HarrelFs nothing is 
known. It is probable one of the oldest churches in the county, 
for Asbury was in close touch with the people in this section 
during his visits in the county. 

Gates was first reported in the conference minutes in 1821. 
By this time the churches in the county were certainly as many 
as four and perhaps five. They were considered worthy of 
recognition and were placed on a charge with Edenton. The 
next year the circuit was reported with Edenton again and so 
on until 1825 when it was placed with Murfreesboro. in 1826 
Gates became a separate circuit. The reports at this time 
show that there were 484 white members and 74 black. Dur- 
ing these early days the county was in the Norfolk District and 

88 Historical Papers 

Gates was given a preacher every year except 1830-1, when 
the county is united with Bertie. In 1828 there were 661 white 
members and 88 colored. In 1832 there were 703 whites and 
200 colored but the next year the colored members fell off to 
90. In 1835 there were 790 whites and 100 colored member- ; 
in 1839, 758 whites and 95 colored. During these early da) ; 
Isaac Soule, James Morrison, Irvin Atkinson. Vernon Esk- 
ridge, T. Jones, George W. Nolley, A. Norman, James P. 
Oliver and Isaac M. Arnold all served the people as preachers. 
However, much of the preaching before the 'forties was done 
by the local preachers and often the conference makes men- 
tion of these local ministers. In fact there are several in- 
stances where the conference appointments make special men- 
tion of local preachers who are to assist the regular preachers 
in the work in Gates. 57 

As has already been said these early churches, like the 
Baptist churches of the same period, had negro as well as white 
members. There was a gallery built in the rear of the church 
where the negroes were placed. They would come up and 
commune after the white people had partaken. The presence 
of the negro in the churches in the county may be traced to 
Asbury with a reasonable degree of certainty ; while in the 
county, he preached to them and seemed to delight in having 
them progress in the faith.* When the white people had their 
great camp meetings that lasted for two or three weeks, and 
there were at least two camp grounds in the county, one near 
Gatesville and one near Sunbury, the negroes would come, too. 
and have their meetings. An old negro preacher and slave, 
Jerry Harrell, was often a leader of the negroes of the Meth- 
odist faith when they came to the camp ground meeting. 58 In 
1841 Philadelphia Church, Sunbury, had forty-one members of 
the negro race on its roil. After the war many of these ne- 
groes left the white churches and formed a negro church, but 
some of them stayed with their white friends even to their 
death. 59 Joe Hunter, an old colored preacher, did not leave 
the church at Sunbury after the war but continued to attend 
and hold his place in the gallery. Every time the whites would 

See account at Constant's Chapel in Vol. Ill, page 15, of Asbury 's Journals. 

Gates Couxty to 1860 80 

commune, he would be there and wait until they all were 
through and then come down to be served. 

Another thing that is very noticeable in going through the 
old church records is the frequency with which members were 
dismissed for misconduct. Every time a page is turned you 
will see some name scratched through and the word "dis- 
missed" written beside it. 

If we may be guided by the custom in vogue after the war, 
each of the eight Methodist churches in the county had preach- 
ing once each month. This meant that the preacher had to 
preach twice every Sunday. Sometimes services would be 
held on a week day, for there were more than eight churches 
in the Gates Circuit. It must be remembered that Gates was 
in the Virginia Conference and the church at Summerton and 
probably other churches in Virginia were connected with the 
Gates Circuit. 60 


One would expect to find the Christian Church strong in 
the county, for it was in this section that James O'Kelly began 
his work. O'Kelly was presiding elder of the district in which 
Gates County is located when he made his break with Method- 
ism. -At Cypress Chapel, Virginia, not far from the Gates 
boundary line, the Christian church had its beginning. 01 How- 
ever, there was only one Christian church in the county prior to 
the Civil War. This church was the one at Sunbury. The date 
of its organization is not known but it was sometime about 
1830. The story is told that the church was an offspring of 
Philadelphia, the Methodist church in the community. The 
separation was due not so much to a matter of doctrine as to a 
spirit of personal revenge. It is said that two men, brothers. 
had a dispute over a ladder. They were both members of the 
Philadeplphia church and the little quarrel found its way into 
church affairs. The result was the organization of a new 
church, Damascus. Several families in the community divided, 
some going to the new and some staying with the old church. 
Nothing can be learned of the early history of this church. 
George Costen was the man of the early days who really con- 
tributed most to its growth. 62 

90 Historical Papers 

From this survey of the churches we find that there were 
thirteen churches in the county before 1860. There were four 
Baptist churches with a total seating capacity of eighteen hun- 
dred, and property valued at $2,200. There were eight Meth- 
odist churches with a seating capacity of thirty-three hundred 
and fifty, and property valued at $4,100. There was one Chris- 
tian Church with accommodation for four hundred and prop- 
erty valued at $400. All of the old chapels of the Established 
Church of the colonial period had sunk into oblivion. 63 


The geographical conditions in Gates County did much to- 
wards shaping political issues. The county was isolated and 
interest in state and national politics never ran as high as it 
did in some of the neighboring counties. When issues did 
arise, they were dominated mostly by exotic influences. 

As a whole the county was about evenly divided in local 
issues. The people in the eastern part of the county, especially 
in the southeast, had more difficulty in marketing their products 
than those in the western part. The eastern section, especially 
in Mintonsville Township, was more isolated than the other 
sections. Markets were far away and the roads were across 
sand ridges and swamps. Here a more democratic spirit de- 
veloped. Mintonsville was always the stronghold of the Demo- 
crats ; in every election for state and national officers from 
1840 to 1860 Mintonsville polled a strong, and in several in- 
stances, an unanimous vote for the Democratic ticket. In the 
other townships conditions were somewhat different. They 
seem to be about evenly divided and this tendency is noticed 
more and more as the crisis of 1860 approaches. 04 If the vote 
was a one-sided one, it was sure to be against the man who was 
being supported in Mintonsville. A few election returns taken 
at random from the scanty files that have been preserved at 
the county court house at Gatesville illustrate this well. The 
first returns from all the townships that can be obtained .'ire 
those for governor in 1842. John M. Morehead was the candi- 
date on the Whig ticket, and Lewis D. Henry on the Demo- 
cratic. The returns by townships are as follows: 03 

Gates County to I860 91 

^forehead Henry 

Gatesville 112 103 

Hall 27 88 

Haslett's 50 25 

Brick House , 14 32 

Folley 63 53 

Hunter's Mill 22 8 

Mintonsville 25 114 

Total 313 423 

Again the election returns for governor in 1850 are suggestive ; 
Reid ran on the Democratic ticket and Manly was the Whig 
candidate. 60 

Reid Manly 

Gatesville 82 112 

Hall 55 69 

Brick House , 31 37 

Haslett's 21 55 

Folley 63 95 

Hunter's Mill No returns No returns 

Mintonsville Ill 33 

Total 363 401 

The peculiar vote of Mintonsville holds out not only for gov- 
ernor but likewise for 'the election of state senator. In 1850, 
Mr. Henry Willey, a man prominent in the politics of the 
county, was the candidate on the Whig ticket, and Whitmel 
S tailings, also a man of importance in the county, was the 
Democratic nominee. Stallings was from Mintonsville Town- 
ship in the eastern part of the county and served in the state 
senate and the assembly for fifteen years. Willey was from 
Willeyton, in Haslett's Township, in the western section of the 
county. The returns were as follows: 07 

Willey* Stallings 

Gatesville 49 32 

Haslett's * 35 14 

Hall 30 24 

* This was Mr. Henrv Willey. His brother. John Willey, was a member 
of the lower house in 1830, 1832, 1833, 1834, 1842. John Willey and Whitmel 
Stallings were opposing candidates tor the lower house for several years. Stall- 
ings finally won' consistently over Willey. In 1S42 when Stallings gets in the 
Senate, Mr. Willey is again elected to the House. John Willey and Stallings were 
hoth Democrats. 

92 Historical Papers 

Brick House 15 16 

Folley r 48 25 

Mintonsville 17 $6 

Total 194 167 

Both of the foregoing candidates were from Gates County, 
but in the election for State Senator in 1856 neither of the 
candidates was from Gates. Dillard, the Democratic candi- 
date, was from Chowan. Savage, the unsuccessful Whig 
candidate, was also .from Chowan. 68 However, the same dis- 
cord is disclosed in the county returns. 69 

Savage Dillard 

Gatesville ....29 58 

Hall 21 25 

Haslett's 32 14 

Brick House 12 24 

Folley 28 58 

Mintonsville 77 16 

Total 199 195 

The election for the member of the House of Commons was 
held at the. same time that election to the Senate was held and 
the returns correspond very closely. In 1850 Catling was the 
Democratic candidate for the Lower House. Gatling was 
from Haslett's Township and a member of the Gatling family 
that has been prominent in county politics from the beginning 
of the county to the present day. Eure, the Whig candidate, 
was from Hall Township and one of the most wealthy men 
in the county. The returns were as follows : 70 

Gatling Eure 

Gatesville 70 130 

Hall 22 105 

Haslett's 25 49 

Brick House 30 36 

Folley 70 104 

Mintonsvifle ...Ill ^ 

Total 328 461 

The contest for the lower house in 1856 is very close to that 
of 1850, except in one instance: Gatesville Township was 
becoming more Democratic and this time cast most of its votes 

Gates County to 1860 93 

for the Democratic candidate, Parker. Bond led the Whig 
ranks. The returns : 71 

Parker Bond 

Gatesville 128 76 

Hall 60 * 65 

Haslett's 19 56 

Brick House r 56 25 

Folley 70 104 

Mintonsville 142 24 

Total 475 350 

The change in the returns from Gatesville Township only de- 
notes the general tendency of the county. The Whig Party 
had begun its decline. 

Not only do the election returns for state officers show that 
one part of the county was lined up against the other part, but 
the returns for local officers also bear out this fact. Take for 
example the returns of the election for sheriff in 1856. Hill 
ran on the Democratic ticket and Lee was the Whig nominee. 7 - 

Hill Lee 

Gatesville 142 42 

Hall 55 55 

Haslett's 22 52 

Brick House 33 48 

Folley 80 93 

Mintonsville 147 16 

Total 479 30 

Again take a look at the returns in the Congressional elec- 
tions. In 1847 Biggs of Martin County was the Democratic 
candidate for Congress in the district, and his Whig opponent 
was Outlaw of Bertie. These returns bear out the fact of 
Whig supremacy during the forties. 

Biggs Ouilazc 

Gatesville 84 74 

Hail 10 40 

Brick House 24 20 

Haslett's 10 40 

Folley 76 85 

Mintonsville 17 62 

Total 221 321 

94 Historical Papers 

By 1851 the situation shows little change so far as national 
issues were concerned. The same men were again candidates 
and the returns from the townships in Gates showed little 
change. By the time the next congressional election came off 
there was a change. The Whigs began to lose out. The 
downfall came suddenly in 1855, when they failed to put out 
a ticket. With the overthrow of the Whigs the Americans, 
an independent party of the district, put out a candidate, R. T. 
Paine, of Chowan. Although Paine won the election, he was 
unable to carry Gates. Many of the old Wnigs, rather than 
join the Americans, went with the Democrats. 73 

Paine Shaw 

Gatesville .* 93 118 

Hall 40 52 

Brick House 27 36 

Haslett's 49 

Folley 89 77 

Mintcnsville 53 133 

Total 331 416 

It is evident from these returns that the Wnigs and the Demo- 
crats were about evenly divided in the county until 1855, when 
the Whig party failed. After this time most of the voters 
went with the Democrats. In pointing out the close fight 
between Mintonsville Township, which was the stronghold of 
the Democrats, and the other townships that were a little in- 
clined to Whiggery, it will be well to mention how close the 
fight was in the early days. To carry the election, either side 
had to work hard. Each party would hold a convention, gen- 
erally on the 4th of July, and the principal pastime was to 
abuse the other party. 74 The people did not stop their fight 
merely with the election for state and local officers, but car- 
ried it into the race for the president of the United States. 
In 1840 Harrison (Whig), received a majority of fifty votes 
over Van Buren (Democrat). In 1844 Clay (Whig) received 
a majority of twenty-seven over Polk (Democrat). In 1848 
the Whig candidate, Taylor, received 379 votes, and Cass, 
Democrat, received 289. Scott (Whig) and Pierce (Demo- 
crat) tied for the county in 1852. Election returns for the 

Gates County to 1S60 95 

other years show that the race was always a warm one. The 
returns for the election of governor are very similar. " 

To sum up, these election returns indicate that politics in 
Gates was an uncertain thing. Nearly always a Whig went 
to the State Senate, but this is explained by the fact that Gates 
elected her senator with Chowan, Currituck, Perquimans, Pas- 
quotank, Camden, and Hertford counties. All of these counties 
were inclined to Whiggery, and they outvoted the people of 
Gates even when Gates wanted a Democratic senator. In the 
House of Commons the county had hrst a Whig, then a 
Democrat. In the National elections most of the results 
favored the Democratic candidate, but it was not a landslide 
by any means ; the same is true of the Congressional elec- 
tions. As the Whig party declined, the tendency was for 
the two parties to unite, rather than for the Whigs to join in 
with the new American party. As 1860 approached there was 
greater unity on political questions. In 1856 the two town- 
ships that had the heaviest vote, and townships that always 
voted against each other, cast their lot together ; in na- 
tional and local elections both went Democratic. However 
the county was not to remain solid, for in the election of 1860 
we find again a trace of the old sectionalism. By a vote of 
161 to 131 the county voted for a Whig governor. And in this 
election, as in the former elections, Gatesville and Mintonsville 
Townships voted against each other; Gatesville cast 87 votes 
for Ellis and 126 for Pool; Mintonsville cast 132 votes for 
Ellis and 39 for Pool. The presidential vote was 353 for Bell, 
the Whig candidate, and 338 for Breckinridge, the Democrat. Tr> 
This division was not due to any immediate national issue, but 
to a revival of old party lines, for the division is equally no- 
ticeable in the local elections. In Mintonsville Township Bal- 
lard, Democrat, received 81 votes, while Eure received 127. 
In the election for sheriff Hunter received 61 votes in Min- 
tonsville, and Parker, 148. The reverse is true in Gatesville, 
where Hunter had 138, and Parker, 63. It is evident that this 
dissension in the county was deep-rooted. No doubt the tight 
in local, state, and national politics was carried on with much 
feeling. However, after the war, the county became united 
and it has been practically Democratic down to the present 

96 Historical Papers 

day. Lock how one-sided the vote for governor was in 1866! 
Worth received 96 votes and Dockery 4 (these 4 came from 
Mintonsville). H. Willey had only 4 votes cast against him 
for the state senate, and Lee went to the lower house with the 
same record. 77 

Although no returns can be obtained further back than 
1842, the county was in all probability anti-Federalist in the 
early days, for Joseph Riddick, who was in the assembly for 
35 years, voted with the anti-Federalists.* He never wanted 
to spend any money. The county was opposed to internal im- 
provements and to the Literary Fund. 78a 

Before attempting to pass any judgment as to the cause 
of political dissension in the county, it is well to show how 
these two sections stood on the matter of free suffrage. In 
August, 1857, the question of free suffrage in senatorial elec- 
tions was submitted to the people, and the results in Gates fail 
to show an antagonism as strong as it was in the election of 
officers. Every township voted for the measure except Has- 
lett's. There is no doubt that this result in Hasletts was 
brought about largely by the activity of Mr. Henry Willey, the 
Whig leader in the county, who lived in this section. Gates- 
ville and Mintonsville stand together for the free suffrage. 
Notice the difference in the vote from the townships on these 
questions and the vote when it is for the election of officers. 
The vote follows : 78b Free Suffrage Against 

Gatesville 123 " 20 

Hall 49 29 

Brick House 20 18 

Haslett's 5 54 

Folley 73 51 

Mintionsville 108 6 

Total 7378 178 

* Joseph Riddick was the leading man in the county from the close of_ the 
Revolutionary War to his death in 1S39 or 1840. He was in the Assembly tram 
1781 to 1811 and again in 1815 and 18l7. For nine years he was the speaker 
of the House, was a member of the convention at Hillsbors that dt i ted th« 
Constitution of the United States. During its sessions he made hitnse t • ;-•- 
languished on account of his common sense. He bitterly opposed the ratib'c tion 
by the state of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions and their detent us I - 
due to htm. lie was also a member of the convention of 1835 for a new con- 
stitution for the state. In 1796 Governor Johnston wrote to Tames Ire de I, 
ar ? so ■ » n f verv good understanding ?ri both bouses. Riddick, trotn ! 

ha.* more influence in'the Senate; he seems g< neralry disposed to do what is 
but will ?o about it in his own way." 8 - He made his trips to Raleigh in a stick-gi* 
and never missed a session. At his old home is a grape-vine that he ordugM 
from Raleigh when he was a member of the Assembly. V1 

Gates County to I860 97 

It is seen that the county as a whole was strongly in favor 
of free suffrage; the democratic spirit prevailed. This vote 
on suffrage can no doubt be accounted for by the general con- 
ditions in the county. There were few schools and these were 
inadequte ; the people were not large property-holders, yet 
all wanted to vote for the man who was to represent the county 
in the state Senate. There was no party change, however, in 
the next senatorial election ; the Democrats were in power be- 
fore the suffrage clause was voted upon. Mr. Willey was the 
man in the county ro lead the movement against suffrage. He 
came from the community where there were the best schools. 
As will be noticed, the old Democratic stronghold, Mintons- 
ville, was strong for free suffrage. 

In February, 1861, the question of calling a convention to 
consider secession was submitted to the people. The county 
was strong for the convention (vote: 377 to 141. 79 ) Only two 
townships voted against it. Hunter's Mill and Holly Grove * 
In this vote on the convention we find Mintonsville strong for 
the movement. The vote was 79 to 9. S1 

It is hard to give any definite reason for this division in 
the county on political issues. However, there are three ex- 
planations that are fairly plausible : first, when Gates County- 
was created, that part taken from Perquimans went to make 
up Mintonsville Township. That taken from Hertford and 
Chowan went to make up Gatesville Township. Later Chowan 
and Hertford were Whig counties, while in Perquimans the 
tendency was more towards the Democrats. The townships in 
the north were made up partly of one county and partly of an- 
other. Gatesville, made up from counties that became Whig, 
was Whig; Mintonsville, made up from a county that became 
Democratic, was Democratic; and the other townships that 
had a mingling of each were never very solid. In colonial 
days there was rivalry between Perquimans and Chowan 

A more plausible reason, however, for this sectionalism in 
the county is to attribute it to the race of a few of the leading 

• It is certain that the leading Whig in the county, Mr. Willey, was opposed 
U' secessioa. Mr. Willev's opposition to the war cost him his seat in the brute 
Senate for the next six years. * After the war he went with the Democrats, and 
wah sent to the Constitutional Conventions of 1865 and 1868, and to the State 
Senate several times. 

98 Historical Papk 


men for office. We always find that the Whig leaders c;\\)]' 
from points surrounding Gates ville, while the Democratic 
leaders came from Mintonsville Township. In the early days 
of the county the feeling was probably not as strong as it was 
after the development of parties in 1836. Joseph Riddick, 
from Mintonsville Township, an anti-Federalist, represented 
the county in the House and Senate for 32 years. It the spirit 
had been as strong along party lines as it was in 1850, it is not 
probable that one man would have held office for this length 
of time. Other men held office, not for one or two years, but 
for a number of years. However, after 1840 no such condi- 
tions prevailed, there was a constant change in the personnel 
and in the party principles of the men elected to the various 
offices. John Willey, and later, his brother, Henry, came from 
Haslett's Township and made politics interesting. On the 
other hand. Whitmel Stallings, of Mintonsville Township, 
was always ready to put up a good fight. Stallings was a Dem- 
ocrat and the leading man in his section of the county. Willey 
was a Whig and had an equal distinction in his section. It is 
very probable that it was these men who stirred up political 
questions and put them before the people. The people evidently 
did not see many newspapers, and politics, so far as the prin- 
ciples were concerned, appealed to them very little. Their only 
interest was a personal one, centering about Stallings and Wil- 
ley. These men formed their ideas and appealed to the people 
for support. It is most likely that this sectionalism in the county 
was due to the political feeling that these men had formed in 
their respective localities. The spirit, once created in the com- 
munity where people had nothing to do but talk politics during 
the winter months, did not easily die out. It took the Civil 
War and its hardships on all the people alike to make them 
see that they had a common interest and the best way to get 
things done was for all to stand together. 

The question of internal improvements also played an im- 
portant part in the division of the county. The people who lived 
in Mintonsville Township had the democratic spirit of the 
pioneer. Internal improvements would not help them and they 
were opposed to paying taxes to help the other part or the 
county develop. The men who came from this section were 

Gates County to 1S60 99 

always opposed to internal improvements, and it was Stallings 
that made such a fight with Willey, of Haslett's Township, over 
this question. There were no waterways that could be opened 
to their advantage, and according to the true democratic spirit 
they were bitter opponents of spending money to develop 
trade routes. 


The people of Gates County were an optimistic people and 
when it came to financial ariairs they were care-free and loose. 
Content with their three meals a day, they never worried over 
the perplexing problems that were threatening the economic de- 
velopment of the country. They had their slaves ; every man 
that was of any consequence held a few, none were large slave 
owners. The slaves did most of the work, and then they were 
not worked very hard. As has already been stated no man in 
the county was a magnet who controlled its finances. At only 
one time in the county did any one man list as mam/ as one 
hundred slaves. In 1860 Mills Roberts, who lived in the 
Mintonsvihe section, listed this number. 

The people raised only those things that were used at home. 
It was not profitable to raise cotton, for it would have to be 
hauled to Norfolk in a cart that would carry only one bale each 
trip, and only so much cotton as could be consumed at home 
was raised. The people sometimes raised a little corn to sell, 
however it took most of the corn produced to feed the hogs 
that were necessarv to afford meat for the slaves. A large 
crop of corn, peas, potatoes and hogs usually constituted the 
crop of the Gates farmers. 94 

Some of the people who lived on the edge of swamps se- 
cured a little cash by sending their slaves in the swamp to 
make shingles. Most of the shingles were hard to market, and 
this trade was followed only to a smail extent. Those around 
Moilev Grove and Coropeake sent their products down the 
Washington Ditch to the Dismal Swamp Canal and thence to 
Norfolk, while those around Gatesville marketed their crops, 
what little was left to market, after the slaves had been pro- 
vided for, by sending them down Bennett's Creek to the 
Chowan River. 

100 Historical Papers 

The land around Gates was fairly productive and the prob- 
lem of providing for some easy way to market the crops once 
raised early arose. Before the Revolution the advantage of 
accessible markets, that could be obtained if an inward water 
system was opened, presented itself to the people. 

Washington when in this section investigating the proba- 
bility of internal improvements, says that a swamp runs near 
Farley's plantation, this plantation being 16 miles from Suf- 
folk, and he indicates that a system of water-ways opening 
this country would be very profitable. 84 The people did not 
forget these things and they labored for a long time to get 
such a system of canals; after their day the fight was taken 
up by their children. In 1790 the Dismal Swamp Canal was 
chartered, but such a move was not of benefit to the inhabi- 
tants of Gates. It was impossible for them to get their 
products in this waterway that would carry them down to Nor- 
folk to market. 

The next step was to get some kind of canal to the county 
that would make the Dismal Swamp Canal of benefit to the 
people of Gates. The leaders in the county saw the advantage 
that such an outlet would aitord and they began to work for 
it. The first attempt to get a canal in the county came in 
1829, when an act was passed by the General Assembly of 
North Carolina, entitled "an act to incorporate the Lake 
Drummond and Orapeake Canal Company." This act pro- 
vided that the canal since it would be a great benefit to the 
entire section, should be constructed and those furnishing the 
capital, since they would run some risk, be allowed to charge 
one-half the toll charged by the Dismal Swamp Canal Com- 
pany. The capital was to be $50,000 and the books for sub- 
scribers to stock were to be opened in Norfolk, Deep Creek 
and in Gates County on the first of April, 1830. In case one- 
third of the capital was subscribed by the second Monday in the 
following July the work of securing subscribers may continue 
until one-half the stock was subscribed and then the construc- 
tion could begin. Tillery W. Carr, John C. Gordon, and John 
D. Baker were designated as the ones to receive subscriptions 
in Gates County. There was to be a president and three di- 
rectors elected every three years who were to manage the 

Gates County to 1800 101 

canal. The canal was to run from Lake Drummond to the 
south side of the Orapeake Swamp and was to be sixteen feet 
wide and five feet deep. The work must begin within two 
years and be completed in ten years. The canal company was 
chartered for forty years. s5 

As to what steps were taken to get stock subscribed and as 
to the willingness of the people to back the project, it is hard 
to determine. It is evident that there were a few of the larger 
planters who had plantations situated near the proposed canal 
who were anxious to see the project materialize; but it is 
equally true that there were some in the county who fought 
the plan. The act chartering the canal was passed while W. 
W. Cooper represented the county in the senate and W. W, 
Stedman and Risup Rawles were the members representing 
the county in the lower house. 86 At least two of these men, 
Cooper and Rawles, were from near Gatesville, and from all 
account they took no special interest in the project one way 
or another. The people in one section of the county wanted 
the canal, and it did not matter materially to the people in the 
other sections. They had a roundabout way out of the 
county by the Chowan River and such a canal would not effect 
their interest. 

However the next year there was a change in the lower 
house and a man come in who was always an ardent Democrat 
and therefore always opposed to anything that looked like 
internal improvements. Whitmel Stallings, of Mintonsville 
Township, made his debut in the political history of the county. 
Associated with him was John Willey, another Democrat and 
the brother of Henry Willey who later became the leader of 
the Whigs of Gates County. The question of the canal took 
on a political aspect and was made a party issue for several 
elections in the county. Stallings and the Democrats in Min- 
tonsviiie Township fought the canal because they were Demo- 
crats and as such were opposed to internal improvements ; and 
again if the canal was constructed it would still leave their 
section without any available markets. If the lands in Hol- 
ley Grove Township were opened, it would make the land in 
Mintonsville have a comparatively smaller value. 87 

The first check to the canal was made when the session 

102 Historical Papers 

of 1830-31 met. During this session an act was passed by the 
General Assembly of North Carolina, entitled, "an act to 
amend an act, passed at the last session of the General Assem- 
bly of this state, entitled an act to incorporate the Lake Drum- 
mond and Orapeake Canal Company." This act provided that 
the said company should be compelled to extend their canal 
from the Orapeake Swamp to the Bennett's Creek or the act 
would be null and void. 88 This was probably a frame-up of 
the member from Mintonsville and the members from around 
Gatesville. The company would in all probability not care to 
cut a canal over this high hand, and if they did. the people in 
Gatesville would also be benefited. The charter was extended 
to seventy instead of forty years. 

The next session of the General Assembly passed another 
act that virtually nullified all that the act passed in 1830 had 
accomplished. The former charter was to be amended ; the 
canal must go to Bennett's Creek ; and was to be increased 
$50,000, making a total of $100,000; the right to construct a 
canal from Orapeake Swamp to Bennett's Creek, in order to 
be retained, must be begun in two and finished in ten years 
after the completion of the Orapeake Canal. 89 

It is hard to say exactly what all of these laws meant, only 
one thing is certain and that is that Whitmel Stallings was at 
this time fighting the canal with all of his power. However, 
the people were determined to have a canal and they were 
equally strong in their opposition to Stallings. It is noticeable 
that at this time Holley Grove Township is inclined to go 
Whig. Even as late as 1850, Mr. Willey, the Whig candidate 
for the State Senate, polled 48 votes to Stallings' 25. 9u From 
all probability little was done to construct the canal. The 
reasons cannot be obtained. The matter must have been 
dropped for the time being, but we find another act passed by 
the General Assembly in its session of 1844-5. 

"An act to revive and continue in force an act passed at 
General Assembly of 1831-32, etc." This provided that the 
work on the canal must be finished in ten years or the charter 
forfeited. In all probability new men had taken hold of the 
affair for we find that this act names Jesse Wiggins, Samuei 
R. Harrell, J. R. Lassater, Andrew Voight, Isaac S. Har~ 

Gates County to I860 103 

rell. Dr. John Gatling and Burreil Brother to open the 
books in Gates County. As soon as $25,000 of the capital is 
subscribed the stockholders are to meet and elect officers and 
proceed with plans. ;il The plans of these men like the plans 
of those planters of 1829-30 seems to have fallen by the 
wayside. The capital was not raised and everything must 
have been dropped for we hear nothing more of the canal. ■ 

However in the early fifties a few men of the neighborhood 
got together and decided to cut a large ditch that would put 
them in touch with Norfolk. A ditch about twelve feet wide 
was cut from a point they called Hamburg, within one-half 
mile of Holley Grove, to the Washington Ditch and this ditch 
in turn ran into Lake Drummond and from there boats could 
go down the Dismal Swamp Canal to Norfolk. Col. Robert 
R. Hill, Samuel Harrell and Timothy Lassiter were the most 
active in getting this work done. This was the outcome of 
the twenty-odd years of strife in the county for a canal. 02 

The people did not get the kind of a canal they wanted 
and the one that they did get came too iare to save the eco- 
nomic condition of the county. There were several other ca- 
nals proposed to come to the county and two were actually 
chartered, one was the Gates County Canal Company, referred 
to in Laws of 1830-1, Chapter 109, page 95; where this canal 
proposed to go is not known. Another was a canal referred to 
in Laws of 1829-30 and chartered about 1827. This canal was 
to go from the woods in Camden County to the White Oak 
Spring Marsh in Gates County. From all the facts that can 
be obtained concerning this canai some work must have been 
done on it. Now if all of the canals proposed and talked 
about had been constructed Gates County would have had a 
financial history, but politics was too rampant and the good of 
the county was sacrificed to petty party strife. 

While the people on one side of the county were trying to 
get a canal, the people on the other side were sending their 
goods down the Chowan river. We find that laws are passed 
prohibiting the felling of timber in Bennett's Creek from Nor- 
fleet's Mill, and imposing a fine of $10 for every offense. A 
similar law was passed concerning Catherine Creek. 

lOi Historical Papers 

These small creeks were not sufficient to stimulate the peo- 
ple of the county to any great activities, and they were never 
as prosperous as they would have been if they had secured a 
canal system that would have made nearby markets easy to 


As was said in the beginning, this account of Gates County 
has not been written because of any great achievements that 
its citizens have accomplished. There have been no great men 
or great movements in Gates that have stirred State and Na- 
tion ; it has been a mediocre county and its people have been 
a mediocre people. What these people in Gates did and 
thought and how they lived, is characteristic of most of the 
people of North Carolina before the Civil War. There were 
only a few James Iredells and Elisha Battles; most of the 
people fell in the same class with the people of Gates County, 
and the value of this paper, aside from its local interest, is that 
is gives an account of that average class. 


dodge's Comparative Geography (N. C. Edition) Page 31. 

2 Laws of N. C. 1788, Chapter 20. 

3 Fox's journal. 1672. pages 458, 459. 

4 Weeks: Church and State in X. C page ( ). 

5 William Byrd : History of the Dividing Line, pages 22-25. 
3 MaeClenny'5 Notes on Gates County. Passim. 

T Smythe's Tour, Volume II. page 66. 
& Ford: Writings of Washington, Volume II, page 195. 
9 Watson: Men and Times of the Revolution, page 45. 
10 Schenck: History of the Invasion of the Carolinas. (See front 

11 Watson: Men and Times of the Revolutionary War, page 361. 

12 Colonial Records. Volume 26, page 556-568. 

"Federal Census. 1790, 1840, 1850, 1860. Xiles Register, Volume 
I, Page 308, December 28, 1811. Star and N. C. State Gazette, 
February 3. 1831. 

" Will of Joseph Reddick. Will book for 1839, Gatesviiie, N. C. 

13 Records of the Proceedings and Indictments of Grand Jury> 
February, 1844. 

15 Tax List of Gates County, 1789-1860. Passim. 

"Federal Census, 1860. 

" L. L. Smith. Gatesviiie, N. C. 

Gates County to 18 GO 105 

"Federal Census, I860. 

*Copeland vs. Parker. Iredell 513 (1843). 

"Federal Census 1790, 1840, 1850, I860. Niles Register, Volume I, 
page 308, December 28, 1811. Star and N. C. State Gazette, February 
3, 1831. 

~ County Tax List. Passim. 

22 T. W.' Cross, Gatesville, N. C. 

- l Indictments of Grand Jury of Gates County before 1860. Passim. 
25 Correspondence of Montfort Stokes, 1831. (Gov. Correspon- 
dence, Raleigh, N. C.) 

28 Private Laws of N. C, 1833, Chapter 58, page 134. 

27 Weeks : Church and State in North Carolina, page 9. 
" s Will book of Gates County, November. 1S05. Also Coon, Docu- 
mentary History of Education, Volume I, page 86. 

29 Asbury's Journal. Volume II, page 323. 

30 Private Laws of N. C, 1820, Chapter 84. 

31 Mr. F. C. Willey, Gates, N. C. 

23 Private Laws of N. C. 1832, Chapter 65. Local Traditions. 

33 Private Laws of N. C, Chapter S3. 

34 Census of 1840. 
33 Census of 1850. 

36 Report of Superintendent Willey to Governor in 1859. 

37 Starnes : The Literary Fund of N. C. 

38 Laws of N. C, 1859.' 

39 Delke : History of the Chowan Baptist Association, pages 60-69. 

40 Records of the Vestrv at Edenton, N. C. (St. Paul's Vestry.) 

41 Ibid. 

"Delke: History of the Chowan Baptist Association. Passim. 

48 MaeClenny's Notes on Gates County. 

47 Dr. Speight: Address at Middle Swamp Baptist Church in 1909. 
4S Delke : History of the Chowan Baptist Association. 

49 Ibid. 

30 Asbury's Journals, Volume III, pages 18, 15. Volume II, page 

11 Local Record of the Methodist Church of Gates County. 

82 Register of Deeds Office, Gates County. 

"Asbury's Journals, Volume III, page 15. Volume II, page 407. 

54 Locai Tradition. 

" Ibid. 


"Methodist Conference Minutes. Passim. 

"Mr. L. L. Smith, Gatesville, N. C. 

" Local Church Records of Methodist Church in Gates County. 

90 Ibid. 

106 • Historical Papers 

■' -uaeQenny 5 Notes 'on Gates County. 

* 2 Local Tradition. 

83 Federal Census of 1850. 

M L. L. Smith, Gatesville, N. C. 

05 Election Returns, Gates County Court House, Gatesville. N. C. 


67 Raleigh Register, November 20, 1850. 

r " s Raleigh Standard, September 5, 1856. 

88 Election Returns, Court House, Gatesville, N. C. 

70 Raleigh Standard, November 20, 1850. Election Returns, Court 
House, Gatesville, N. C. 

n Election Returns, Court House, Gatesville. N. C. 

72 Ibid. 

"Connor: North Carolina Manual, 1913, page 933. Election Re- 
turns, Gatesville. N. C. 

M See N. C. Standard for July 20. 1842. 

75 Connon : N. C. Manual, 1913, page 935. 


77 Election Returns, Gatesville, N. C. 

78 (a). Ibid, (b.) Journal of General Assembly of N. C. Passim. 
n Jbid (a). 

*F. C. Willey, Gates, N. C. 

sl County Election Returns, Gatesville, N. C. 

82 Correspondence of James Iredell, Volume II, page 541. 

83 L. A. Rountree. Sunbury, N. C. Moore's History of N. C, 
Volume I, page 342, 432. 

M Ford : Writings of Washington, Volume II, page 195. 
w Private Laws of N. C, 1829-30, Chapter 35. 
88 Wheeler's History of North Carolina. 
ST L. L. Smith. Gatesville, N. C. 

88 Laws of N. C, 1830-31. Chapter 109. 

89 Laws of N. C, 1831-32, Chapter 134. 

90 Election Returns. Gatesville, N. C. 

91 Laws of N. C, 1844-45, Chapter 28. 

92 MaeClenny's Notes on Gates County. 

93 Court of Pleas and Quarterly Sessions. Proceedings February, 

94 See Census of 1850. (Industry and Wealth). 




N '."EMSL 

A ±k.j a. 



i / 

Published by the Tnr, 
Colic : H LSv: ncal .. ,;tv 





ses i :: i . . i 

Historical Papers 

Published by the Trinity 
College Historical Society 


ff\\ B 

Series XIII 






Prefatory Note 4 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North — 

Adelaide Avery Lyons 5 

Militia of North Carolina in Colonial and 

Revolutionary Times — Luther Lafayette GobbeL... 35 

Life and Public Services of Hugh Williamson — John 

Washington Ncal 62 

Unpublished Letters of Hugh Williamson 112 


The essays herewith submitted are the work of students 
in Trinity College, having been submitted in competition for 
two prizes, the Braxton Craven Essay Medal and the South- 
ern History Prize of the Trinity College Historical Society. 
For valuable criticisms acknowledgement is due Mr. Marshall 
Haywood, of Raleigh. Influences arising from the World 
War have delayed publication. The manuscript for Series 
XIV is at hand and its publication may be expected in 1920. 

Wm. K. Boyd, 
For Committee on Publication. 

November 26, 1919. 



Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 

Adelaide Avery Lyons* 

Contrary to the opinion prevailing in the South, slavery 
was not universally condemned in the North but. as a matter 
of fact, found many defenders, particularly in the colleges 
and the churches. The abolition movement, although making 
a religious appeal, was distinctly an extra-church activity. At 
the beginning of the nineteenth century the churches of all de- 
nominations were more or less positively anti-slavery in their 
teachings and practices, but during the early years of the cen- 
tury there was a marked increase in religious interest among 
the slavehoiding classes — a fact which greaty modified the at- 
titude of the churches in regard to slavery. By 1830 5 when 
the Garrisonian abolition was under way, the opinions of the 
churches had so far changed that not only were Garrison and 
his followers denounced as heretics and madmen, but the in- 
stitution of slavery itself found staunch defenders in the 

This northern defense of slavery was, like the abolition 
movement, largely concentrated in two sections, New England 
and the Middle West. The first agitation by the pro-slavery 
propagandists in these sections occurred during the years im- 
mediately following the rise of the abolition movement, and 
from that time until the actual fail of the Confederacy the 
northern defenders of slavery, as they decreased in numbers, 
increased in zeal. As Hart says in his Slavery and Aboli- 
tion : ''Abolition was sorely disappointed in the clergy and 
churches, especially in New England. The cloth of the North 
was arrayed against him (Garrison) and many of the North- 
ern divines entered the lists The positive opposition 

ui the churches soon followed. Lewis Tappan and others 
were tried by their own churches for their abolition activity. 

• This essay was awarded the Braxton Craven. Prize in 1917. 

6 Historical Papers 

The Methodist General Conference of 1836 passed a resolu- 
tion of censure upon two of its members who had spoken 
in favor of abolition; and the New York Methodist Con- 
ference of 1S38 warned all members not in- any way to patron? 
ize Zion's Watchman, an anti-slavery paper." 1 

In regard to the ministry Barnes says : "They have affixed 
to the word abolition an odious idea, and so far as their in- 
fluence goes; led the public to do it also." 2 Of religious papers 
he also says : "If there is no formal and avowed defense of 

slavery their influence is such as to make it possible 

and convenient to refer to them in support of the system." 3 
A number of the Emancipator for 1838 expressed the fear 
that the ministers of the gospel were "settling down to fixed 
hatred of the principles of liberty and fixed determination at 
any hazard to maintain the lawfulness of slavery and criminal- 
ity of efforts for its removal. They are evincing a readiness 
to abandon any principle, to violate any obligation, to outrage 
any feeling, to sacrifice any interest heretofore held dear and 
sacred, if it be found to afford countenance or strength to 
anti-slavery." 4 

A review of the actions of the leading denominations on 
the subject of slavery will show to what extent each was in- 
active or was actually arrayed in the defense of the institution. 


Of all the sects the Baptists were, perhaps, the most hostile 
to slavery. The congregational nature of the church govern- 
ment was unfavorable to widespread agitation of any kind. 
Still, in many instances, there was in the North action which 
countenanced slavery. In 1835 Rev. D. Sharp, of Boston, 
cautioned a conference of Baptist ministers "to be prudent in 
matters not within the appropriate sphere of the church, to 
give no instructions to political organizations, and to avoid 
controversies." 5 In 1840 the South Carolina State Conven- 
tion was assured by agents of the American and Foreign Bible 
Society and of the American Baptist Home Mission Society 

1 Hart, Slavery and Abolition, 211. 

2 Barnes. Church and Slavery, 17. 
*Ibid. 18. 

* Wi'son, Rise and Fall of the Slave Power, Vol. I, 412. 
4 Putnam, Eaptists and Slavery, 17. 

Religious Defense of Slaveby in the North 7 

that the number and influence of the abolitionists among Bap- 
tists were small and feeble and that the great body of Bap- 
tists in the North had no sympathy with abolition and no de- 
sire to interfere in the smallest degree with the institution of 
slavery. At the Triennial Baptist Convention which met at 
Baltimore in 1841, radical abolitionists on the general Board, 
for example, Elon Galusha, were replaced by less radical men. 
At this convention it was understood that slavery was a sub- 
ject with which the convention had "no right to interfere." 6 
A letter signed "S. C. C." and published in the Religious 
Herald .for April 4, 1844 declared that ''the large body of 
Baptists at the North were as much opposed to the abolition 
movement as were those at the South." 7 By this year, how- 
ever, the subject had become one of general interest to the 
Baptists. There were lengthy discussions at the Triennial 
Convention which met in Philadelphia but the Convention "got 
rid of it by laying the whole subject on the table." 8 In the 
same year the two great national missionary societies refused 
to take any action on the slavery question. The American 
Baptist Missionary Society had in its employ at this time 
twenty-six slaveholding missionaries, 9 and "the great mass of 
Baptists had reconciled themselves to the existence of slav- 
ery." 10 There was, however, some protest against this pas- 
sive attitude of the church. In September, 1844, there was 
held in Albany a Baptist Anti- Slavery Convention which de- 
clared that the General Convention had ''manifested an in- 
curable pro-slavery spirit and was essentially committed to the 
fellowship of slavery and the employment of slaveholding mis- 
sionaries." 11 The spirit of hostility expressed by this conven- 
tion grew in the Baptist church and by 1846 had developed to 
the extent that so far as foreign and domestic missions were 
concerned the church was completely split. Even after this 
division, however, the Christian Times, a Baptist paper pub- 
lished at Springfield, would publish no anti-slavery propaganda 
and favored Douglas in his contest against Lincoln. 12 

" Ibid. 26,27. 

T Ibid. 34. 

■ Ibid. 38. 

• Coodell. Slavery and Anti-S'avery, 187. 

10 Newman, The Baptists, 305. 

u Putnam, Baptists and Slavery. 43. 

n Dodd, Fight for the Northwest (Am. Hist. Review, vol. XVI). 

8 Historical Papers 

In the Episcopal Church slavery seems never to have been 
a vital issue. In regard to the position of this church John 
Jay said: 

"Alas for the expectation that she would conform to the spirit of 
her mother; she has not only remained a mute and careless spectator 
of this great conflict of truth and justice with hypocrisy and cruelty, 
but her very priests and deacons seem to be ministering at the altar of 
slavery, offering their talents and influence at its unwieldy shrine, and 
openly repeating the awful blasphemy that the precepts of our Saviour 
countenance the system of American slavery. Her Northern (free 
state) clergy with rare exceptions, whatever they may feel on the 
subject, rebuke it neither in public nor in private, and her periodicals, 
far from advancing the progress of abolition, oppose our society .... 
defending slavery as not incompatible with Christianity and occas- 
ionally withholding information useful to the cause of freedom." 13 

In 1839 a committee of the General Theological Seminary 
declined to admit to the Seminary "a colored young gentleman 
from the State of New York" who had been recommended as 
a candidate for holy orders. Later, while Phillips Brooks was 
considering entering the ministry, a friend "represented to 
him how the church and the clergy were holding aloof from the 
humanitarian movement which called for the abolition of 
slavery but against this plea, which made its impres- 
sion, he persisted in listening to other voices, to 

some inward call" 14 In December 1860 the Chicago Record, 
the Episcopal organ for the Northwest, acknowledged that 
the bishops and clergy of that denomination had never raised 
their voices against the South or slavery. 15 The whole atti- 
tude of this church seems to have been one of inactivity rather 
than of participation on either side of the slavery controversy. 

The Congregational Church, although it had few members 
in the slave states, yet gave a great deal of consideration to the 
question of slavery, and from the ranks of the denomination 
came some of the most ardent defenders of the institution. 
Members of this church had "constituted a large portion of 
those few 'who were slaveholders during the existence of slav- 
ery in the Northern and Eastern states."' 5 Also, "some of the 
most prominent ministers especially in the seacoast cities were 

13 Quoted from Birney. American Churches, the Bulwark of American Slavery, 

"Allen, Life and Letters of Phillips Brooks, 141. 

15 Docld, Fight for the Northwest. 

18 Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 165. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 9 

bold in the defense of the pagan Fugitive Slave Law, and the 
great body of the church was about to endorse and ratify the 
surrender of the church to slavery." 17 From the viewpoint of 
the abolitionists "the influence of the religious papers in the 
state (Maine) was a great obstacle to the righteous cause." 18 ' 
In 1836 these same abolitionists considered "'the attitude of 
current religion deplorable, . . . denouncing and assailing as 
fanatics those who prayed and toiled for them." (the slaves.) 10 
In 1838 the Lincoln Congregational Conference refused to 
have any resolution on slavery read or anything said on the 
question, and it disallowed the publication of a pastoral letter 
which slightly alluded to the subject. The Congregational 
Convention of Maine in 1851 "continued its relations with 
slaveholding bodies and appointed as delegate to the Presby- 
terian Assembly a defender of slavery from the Bible," 20 The 
following year one religious paper in New England said : "The 
Lord's time to remove slavery has not come. We must wait. 
In His own time He will do it." An editorial in a copy of the 
New Haven Spectator, printed during the year 1832, said : 
"The Bible contains no explicit prohibition of slavery. It rec- 
ognizes both in the Old and New Testaments such a constitu- 
tion of society, and it lends authority to enforce the mutual 
obligations arising from that constitution. Its 'language is, 
'Slaves, obey your masters, and masters, give unto your ser- 
vants that which is just and equal, knowing that ye also have 
a master in heaven.' There is neither chapter nor verse in 
Holy Writ which lends any countenance to the fulminating 
spirit of universal emancipation of which some specimens may 
be seen in some of the newspapers." 21 Many of the New- 
England clergy came to the defense of Daniel Webster when 
his action in regard to the Fugitive Slave Law was being 
criticised by Garrison and his followers. 

The Presbyterian Church, having widespread interests in 
both the North and the South, was more intimately connected 
with slavery than was the Congregational, and hence was 
subject to more violent agitation on the question. Like other 

£ W illey, Anti-Slare History in State and Nation, 392. 

a lbid, 190. 

9 Ibid, 71. 

"Ibid. 392. 

n New Haven Spectator, 1832, 473. 

10 Historical Papers 

denominations the Presbyterians had originally been opposed 
to slavery, but as slave-holders came into the church in greater 
and greater numbers., and as the radical "abolition heresy" 
arose in New England and the Middle West, the attitude of 
the church was substantially modified. 

In 1818 the General Assembly passed the following reso- 

It is manifestly the duty of all who enjoy the light of the present 
day to use their honest, earnest, and unwearied endeavors to correct 
the errors of former times and as speedily as possible to efface the 
blot on our holy religion and to obtain the complete abolition of 
slavery throughout Christendom, and, if possible, throughout the 
World. 88 

This action embodied what was, for a time, the true at- 
titude of the church upon the subject, but by 1836 this 
sentiment had been so radically changed that the General As- 
sembly which met at Pittsburg adopted a set of resolutions 
which stated that "the subject of slavery is inseparably con- 
nected with the laws of many states of the union with which 
it is by no means proper for an ecclesiastical body to inter- 
fere," and the whole question of legislation in regard to slavery- 
was "indefinitely postponed. 5 ' At this same session of the 
General Assembly a reprint of an article which had ap- 
peared in the Princeton Reportory, and which was alleged 
to have been written by Professor Hodge of Princeton, was 
widely circulated. This article is quoted as saying: "At the 
time of the advent of Jesus Christ slavery in its worst form 
prevailed over the world. The Savior found it around him 
in Judea, the Apostles met with it in Asia, Greece, and Italy. 
How did they treat it? Not by denunciation of slaveholding 
as necessarily sinful. The assumption that slaveholding is in 
itself a crime is not only an error, but is an error fraught with 
evil consequences." 23 

The Presbyterian Church was, during the decade between 
1830 and 1840, torn with dissension in regard to the doctrine 
of the atonement. This dissention led in 1837 to the excision 
of four synods charged with heresy, but a still greater di- 

23 Quoted from Minutes of the General Assembly of 1849, 187, 
28 Quoted in Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 153. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 11 

vision occurred the following year when the entire church be- 
came separated into the Old School and the New School Pres- 
byterians. "It was alleged as early as 1838 that the prevalence 
of anti-slavery sentiment among New School men, as in New 
England was one of the reasons for the cooperation of the 
South in the policy of division. This is not borne out by 
facts/' 24 However little slavery may have had to do with the 
division of the church, it was certainly a fruitful topic of dis- 
cussion in both branches. "The Old School defended slavery 
on Scriptural grounds, the New School declared it 'oppressive' 
and 'unrighteous' but took no decisive action against it." 2r ' 
The whole action of the New School was vacillating. 
"Mild anti-slavery resolutions were adopted, but no authori- 
tative action was ever taken against slavery." 26 The New 
School Assembly of 1843. after a three days debate, refused 
to vote on the following measure : "Resolved : That the As- 
sembly do not think it for the edification of the church for 
their body to take any action on the subject of slavery." 27 
The reason given for failure to adopt the measure was that 
it would be "passed by a small majority and must operate to 
promote alienation and division." 28 As one anti-slavery man 
said : "The New School Assembly is more solicitous to have 
the favor of the few slaveholders who are members than to 
have the blessings of the poor who are perishing in their 
grasp — more earnest to equal the Old School in numbers than 
to outstrip it in righteousness." 20 For two years after this 
heroic procedure the New School General Assembly "declined 
to take action against slavery." 30 Reunion with the Old School 
was agitated in 1846 and again in 1850 — regardless of the 
pro-slavery attitude of the Old School. The entire action of 
the New School has been summed up in the following words : 
"In 1839 the whole subject was referred to the Presbyteries, 
but in 1843 the Presbyteries were censured for acting and 
were requested to rescind their acts. It (the General As- 
sembly) could not censure slavery, but it could censure Pres- 

24 Thompson, Presbyterian Church, 155 ft. 
53 Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 162. 
™Ibid. 157. 

57 Barnes, Chi:rch and Slavery, 41. 
"Ibid. 41. 

29 Birney, American Churches, the Bulwark of American Slavery, 33. 

30 Gcodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 162, 

12 Historical Papers 

byteries by whom. slavery was censured." 31 This policy of 
vacillation was not agreeable to the more radical of the New 
School Presbyterians, and in 1853 "six synods, twenty-one 
presbyteries, and fifteen thousand members" withdrew and 
formed the United Synod of the Presbyterian Church, a 
strictly anti-slavery body. 32 

If the New School did not condemn slavery, the Old School 
was even less active against the evil. In a convention held 
preparatory to the separation between the New and the Old 
Schools the followers of the Old School resolved "that in the 
judgment of this convention it is of the greatest consequence 
to the best interests of the church that the subject of slavery 
shall not be agitated or discussed in the sessions of the Gen- 
eral Assembly," 33 and also that "the Church could not con- 
demn slavery without condemning the apostles for conniving 
with it." 34 The Old School x\ssembly of 1845 "recognized no 
responsibility on the part of the church to remove the evils con- 
nected with slavery" and the following year condemned "all 
schismatic measures tending to destroy the peace of the 
church." 35 Again, in 1847 the Old School Assembly voted that 
it was "inexpedient and improper for it to attempt or propose 
measures of emancipation. " 3t] 

Closely related to the Congregational and the Presbyterian 
Churches were the agitations which arose in regard to slavery 
in Lane Seminary and in the present M'Cormick Seminary. 
Lane Seminary was located at Cincinnati, on the border be- 
tween slave and free territory. In 1832, under the leadership 
of Theodore D. Weld, a disciple of Garrison, there occurred 
at Lane a series of debates on the subject of slavery. These 
debates created so much disturbance that, with the concur- 
rence of the president, Lyman Beecher, they were stopped by 
action of the trustees. This action resulted in the withdrawal 
of four-fifths of the Lane students and their subsequent en- 
trance to Oberlin College. Even at Oberlin, however, the sen- 
timent in favor of the negroes was not as strong as is com- 

*Ibid, 185. 

33 Thompson, Presbyterian Church, 135. 

33 Birney, American Church the Bulwark of American Slavery, 33. 

24 Hart, Slavery and Abolition, 214, 

^Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 157. 

M Thompson, The Presbyterian Church in the U. S., 136. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 13 

moniy supposed. Provision was made in 1834 for the admis- 
sion of colored students to the college, but this action was not 
entirely due to disinterested benevolence. The Board of Tms- 
tees found that unless they agreed to admit negro students 
they could secure neither three much-desired professors nor 
an ottered endowment of $10,030. Even under these circum- 
stances the sentiment of the board was so evenly divided that 
it was necessary for Father Keep, the presiding officer, to 
cast the deciding vote and secure the admission of negro 
students. 37 

In the Presbyterian Church the New Albany Seminary, 
later known as the Theological Seminary of the Northwest, 
had been under the control of seven Northwestern synods. 
It was proposed that this seminary be turned over to the Gen- 
eral Assembly of the church on the grounds that such a trans- 
fer would prevent the establishment of a rival seminary in 
that region. This action was bitterly opposed by Rev. E. L. 
M'Masters, who thought that in case of the transfer the 
seminary would be subject to "the impudent and offensive 
domination of slaveholders." 38 The transfer was, however, 
accomplished — for reasons similar to those which led to the 
admission of colored students to Oberlin: Cyrus M'Cormick 
promised a donation of $10,000 on the condition that the semi- 
nary be turned over to the General Assembly- and be moved 
to Chicago. With this promised aid as an inducement, the 
transfer was brought about by the brave majority of eight 
votes. M'Masters was not elected to a position in the new 
seminary because of his "feelings and purposes in regard to 
slavery which the Assembly could not sanction." 39 Nathan L. 
Rice was made president and ''within a year delivered three 
lectures in North Church, Chicago, proving from the Bible 
that slavery was not only not contrary to divine will but 
positively sanctioned by the Old and New Testaments." 40 
The secular press of Chicago declared the seminary to be "an 
institution founded in the interests of Southern slavery." 41 
In regard to the whole situation Dodd says: "The churches 

" Hart, Slavery and Abolition, 190-192, and Fairchild, Oberlin, 51 ff. 
^Huiv.'y, History of M'Cormick Seminary, 103. 

Hasley, History of M'Cormick Seminary, 122. 
"J 1>0'M, Fight for the Northwest. 
u Hasley, History of M'Cormick Seminary, 149. 

14 Historical Papers 

of the Northwest were becoming aroused to the dangers of 
radicalism and were on the conservative side." 42 

Of all the churches the Methodists perhaps suffered the 
most violent dissensions as the result of the slavery agitation. 
In 1784 there was strict legislation against slavery, but as early 
as 1808 "a series of resolutions had struck from the Discipline 
all that related to slaveholding among private members of the 
Methodist Church." 43 Says one who lived during the change 
of sentiment: "In 1824 provision was made for exhorting 
owners to give religious instructions to their slaves, for 
admitting negroes to the church, and for the employment 
of colored preachers, and here closes the history of her op- 
position to slavery as a system. These provisions yet (July, 
1848) remain as the whole action of the Methodist Church 
against slavery." 44 

In 1835 Bishops Hedding and Emory exhorted the mem- 
bers of the New England conferences in this manner : "If 
any agitate other societies or communities on the subject, we 
advise preachers, trustees, and ofiiciais and other members to 
manifest displeasure and to refuse the use of pulpits and 
houses for such purposes." 45 In 1836 the General Confer- 
ence which met at Cincinnati committed itself "strongly and 
unqualifiedly againsr radical abolition" and disclaimed "any 
right, wish, or intention to interfere with the civil and political 
relation between master and slave as it exists in the slavehold- 
ing states of this union." 40 This Conference further declared 
that "the only Scriptural and prudent way for us is wholly to 
abstain from agitating the subject." 47 Later, ministers were 
arraigned and suspended for not complying with this exhorta- 
tion. The New York and Ohio Conferences approved of this 
action of the General Conference, but those of New England 
wished to take unfavorable action on the subject and to pass 
resolutions hostile to slavery, but Bishop Hedding refused to 
allow them to vote on the matter. 48 

* Dodd, Fight for the Northwest. 

** Matlack, American Slavery and Methodism. 28. 

"Ibid. 32. 

« Ibid. 

46 Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 142. 

* T Matlack, American Slavery and Methodism. 

49 Ibid. 40-67. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 15 

In 1840 the General Conference passed a resolution to the 
effect that 

Under the provisional exception of the general rule of the church 
on the subject of slavery, the simple holding of slaves, or mere owner- 
ship or slave property, in states or territories where the laws do not 
admit of emancipation, and permit the liberated slave to enjoy free- 
dom, constitutes no legal barrier to the election and ordination of 
ministers to the various grades of office known in the ministry of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, and cannot, therefore, be considered as 
operating any forfeiture of right in view of such election and ordi- 

Many distinguished members of this conference openly de- 
fended slavery. Bishop Hedding believed that slaveholding 
might be justified by the Golden Rule and argued that Metho- 
dists held slaves according to this rule. Bishop Soule de- 
clared: "I have never advised the liberation of slaves, and think 
I never shall." Dr. Fiske, President of Wesleyan University, 
said: "The New Testament enjoins obedience upon slaves as 
an obligation due to a present rightful authority." The opin- 
ion of Dr. T. E. Bond, editor of the Christian Advocate 
Journal, was that "Slavery itself is nowhere forbidden in 
Scripture." Rev. S. Olin, later President of Wesleyan, de- 
clared : "I believe we are all prepared to recognize the right of 
our Southern brethren to hold slaves under the provision of 
the Discipline. The man who denies this may be a very good 
man, but a very bad Methodist." J. B. Ayres, of the Phila- 
delphia Conference, said: "In one neighborhood in Maryland 
some years ago the Methodists took it into their heads to free 

all slaves The curse of the Almighty has rested upon 

them ever since." 30 Upon another occasion Wilbur Fiske 
said: "The general rule of Christianity not only permits, but 
in supposable cases enjoins, a continuance of the master's 
authority." 51 

The lax attitude of the General Conference led the more 
radical of the anti-slavery members of the Methodist Church 
to withdraw from the connection in 1843 and in a meeting 
held at Ithaca, New York, to set up the Wesleyan Methodist 
Church, a church "free from episcopacy and slavery." 

* Tigert, Constitutional History of Methodism, 427. 

60 All quoted in Matlack, American Slavery and Methodism, 28 ff. 

" Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slaverv, 147. 

16 Historical Papers 

A still greater division, however, was destined to occur in 
1844. This was caused fundamentally by a difference of opin- 
ion between the northern and the southern Conferences in 
regard to the extent of the episcopal powers, although a ques- 
tion in regard to slavery was the immediate occasion of the 
division. The Methodists of the North, living in the midst of 
Congregationalism, wished to assert the independence of the 
Annual Conferences: those of the South, where the influence 
of the Protestant Episcopal Church was stronger, held that 
the bishops were supreme over all Conference action. Among 
the early difficulties which arose were the above-mentioned 
conflicts between Bishop Hedding and the New England Con- 
ferences in regard to anti-slavery resolutions. 

By 1844 the situation had become acute and feeling was in- 
tense. In the midst of this excitement the question was raised 
as to whether Bishop /Andrews, whose wife was a slave owner, 
should exercise the episcopal function. The bishops counseled 
postponement of action on the subject, but by a vote of ninety- 
five to eighty-four their recommendation was tabled.*" 2 Bishop 
Andrews was "virtually suspended from his office as Superin- 
tendent" with the result that the southern conferences severed 
their connection with the northern. At the very conference 
in which the split occurred, however, "no single voice was 
heard to declare that it was unchristian to hold slaves under 

any and every circumstances many voices were heard 

pleading equivocally but surely for slavery." 53 

Although most of the slaveholding congregations of Metho- 
dism affiliated themselves with the southern branch of the 
church, there were, nevertheless, in the northern church four 
thousand saveholders, and ''every effort was made to prevent 
their being interfered with by the abolitionists of the North." 04 
Even as late as 1860 the prevalence of pro-slavery sentiments 
in the North deterred the General Conference from action on 
the subject. The Northwestern Christian Advocate of May 
23 and June 6 of that year declared that "slavery had never 
been proven a sin similar to polygamy, idolatry, and drunken- 
ness, but that it rested upon good Bible grounds. " 55 

52 Tigert, Const. Hist, of Sou. Methodism, 440. 

63 Matlack, American Slaverv and Methodism, 11. 

"Ibid. 194. 

M Dodd, Fight for the Northwest. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 17 

Matlack sums up the situation in the Methodist Church as 
follows : 

"However reluctant any may feel to accredit the fact that 
the executive officers of the church gave their influence against 
anti-slavery action and in favor of slavery, it cannot be de- 
nied. 50 

The chief reasons for the churches failing to give organ- 
ized support to the anti-slavery movement were undoubtedly 
natural conservatism and fear of dissention and schism, but 
it is a significant fact that the dates of the pro-slavery agita- 
tion coincide with the establishment of theological seminaries 
and the emphasizing of the verbal inspiration of the Scrip- 
tures. It was, indeed, through a literal interpretation of cer- 
tain passages of Scripture that the northern defenders of 
slavery gained most of their arguments. 


Having traced the attitude of various denominations toward 
the question of slavery, it is now in order to note some of 
the more notable defenses of the institution by individual 

One of the earliest and also one of the most violent of 
the pamphlets written in defense of slavery was Thoughts on 
Slavery, published anonymously in Lowell, Mass., in 1848. 
The chief question raised is, "Whether negro slavery is con- 
sistent with the precepts of the Christian religion?" In proof 
of its absolute consistency the author accepts literally Noah's 
curse of Canaan as the beginning of slavery and at great length 
goes into a study of the probable psychology of Noah, Ham, 
and Canaan, with the result that he assumes the curse to have 
been the direct expression of the will of the Almighty and 
to extend to the last descendant of Ham, just as the blessing 
of Noah extends to the last descendant of Shem and Japheth. 
His conclusion on this point is as follows: 

The entire human race is suffering to a certain extent in conse- 
quence of the fall of their great progenitor (Adam), a portion of 
that race is suffering additional evils in consequence of the wicked- 
ness of their more immediate ancestor. The modern doctrine in re- 

M Matlack, American Slavery and Methodism, 64. 

18 Historical Papers 

lation to the social and political equality of man has nor., therefore, 
always been true, nor, unless the whole progeny of Canaan be extinct 
and swept from the face of earth, is it true now. 57 

The justice of the divine decree which thus curses a por- 
tion of the human race, the author says, can be no more satis- 
factorily explained than can the indisputably true doctrine of 
election. He next takes up the history of slavery to show that 
it is a divinely favored institution. Abraham was undoubtedly 
a slaveholder, and in the Mosaic law slavery is "expressly rec- 
ognized and permitted." 38 This law was not abrogated by the 
New Testament. Then is discussed the war cry of the aboli- 
tionists, "Do as you would be done by." In this connection 
the author points out that the doctrine, if only carried far 
enough, would force the abolitionists to let slaveholders alone 
and would also stop all action at law against criminals. He 
further holds that conscience cannot be an infallible guide 
since it permits various inconsistencies. To the abolitionists 
he says in this connection: "While you are dulcifying your 
tea and coffee with the sugar of the tropics merely to heighten 
their flavor — let me impress on your conscience that all this 
gratification is only purchased by the blood and tears of 
slavery." 59 He admits the natural desire of slaves for freedom 
but doubts the possibility of such freedom ; there is no warrant 
for it from Scripture, for the apostles join with the law and 
the prophets in enjoining the obedience of servants to masters. 

The next section of the pamphlet is devoted to the refuta- 
tion of certain arguments advanced by Dr. Channing. If, as 
Dr. Channing held, Paul did not openly declare against slav- 
ery because he feared a slave war, but did privately express 
his hostility to the institution, the author declares that the 
apostle's action was "so degrading to his high and lofty in- 
tellect, so debasing to his spotless morality, so unlike his 
dauntless courage which distinguished him on all occasions 
that we turn from it in disgust." 60 As to Dr. Channing's argu- 
ment that if slavery is countenanced in the Scriptures, so is 
polygamy, the writer holds that the origin of slavery is clearly 

87 Thoughts on Slavery, 14. 
M Ibid. '17-27. 
"Ibid. 32, 40. 
^ Ibid. 49-51. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 19 

divine, that of polygamy uncertain, and that polygamy died 

naturally among the Jews while slavery remained. "Those 
who so vehemently affirm that the sinfulness of slavery is 
so plainly declared in the Bible are bound to explain why all 
Christendom, with the Bible in their hands, have remained un- 
til recently in such profound ignorance of the fact," for the 
Puritans "with all their strictness did not pronounce it a 



In conclusion the author takes up the question: "Was 
slavery designed to be perpetual or temporary?" He argues 
that as the precepts of the Bible are binding to all ages, so also 
is the curse on Canaan. The blessings on the descendants of 
Shem and Jaoheth have been carried out until they are the 
masters of the earth. In proving that the curse upon Canaan 
has been carried to a similar extent, and that the negroes are 
their descendants, he employs a remarkable syllogism. Afri- 
cans are cursed with the worst geographical location on the 
earth; the sons of Canaan were cursed; therefore the Africans 
are the sons of Canaan. The curse must have been imme- 
diate in its operation, it must have "caused a change in the 
hair, bones and color of the negroes." There is no other way 
to account for these changes, since negroes were so formed 
at the time of the early Egyptian monuments, which were 
made too near the time of the flood for these changes to have 
been brought about by natural means. "The change that pro- 
duced the negro was supernatural. God, for wise purposes, 
ordained that one portion of mankind should enslave another, 
and he set a mark upon the unfortunate party by which he 
could always be recognized." 02 The righteousness of negro 
slavery cannot therefore be doubted, because "an universal 
custom, existing from time immemorial, known and practiced 
of all men in all places, cannot be falsified or mistaken. Such 
has been the case with regard to negro slavery." 

The author's final conclusion is: "Negroes have always 
been slaves and always will be. Philanthropists have dis- 
covered no method to prevent it. As long as there is a de- 
scendant of Canaan there will be slavery." 63 
~— _____ 

a lb%d. 66, 68. 
*»/6;<i. 70. 

20 Historical Papers 

Another striking pamphlet written in defense of slavery 
was Conscience and the Constitution, by Moses Stuart, Pro- 
fessor of Hebrew in Andover Theological Seminary. It is 
particularly noteworthy for its broad-minded, common-sense 
consideration of actual facts as they existed in the United 
States in 1850, and because the good doctor did not allow his 
earnestness to overcome his sense of humor. The pamphlet 
was occasioned by the fact that Dr. Stuart had upheld, amid a 
tumult of criticism, Daniel Webster's famous seventh-of-March 
speech. In answer to his critics Dr. Stuart wrote this pam- 
phlet in which he does not defend the perpetuation of slavery 
in the South, but does bitterly denounce the course of the 
abolitionists and does extenuate slaveholding as having Scrip- 
tural sanction and as being an institution for which the South- 
erners of his day were not responsible. 

On the title page Dr. Stuart quotes, in Greek. I Corinthians 
7:21 : "Art thou called, being a servant, can? not for it." With 
apologies for appearing to hide behind the great apostle, he 
proceeds to take these words as his text and to suggest the 
applicability of the words "care not for it" to those who are 
not under the yoke of slavery, as well as to those who are. "A 
little more of the laissez faire :> , he says, "would become be- 
lievers in the Holy Scripture." 

After relating the manner in which he had been drawn into 
the controversy. Dr. Stuart proceeds to consider the question 
of slavery as it is referred to in the Old Testament. Here he 
finds, it strongly entrenched : "in the commandments servants 
male and female are recognized as a standing and permanent 
part of the Jewish people." 04 Also there is no command to 
make slaves, but it is equally certain that there is no command 
to unmake them. One thing, however, is probable, that there 
is a cognizance of them in such a way as to render it quite cer- 
tain that Moses expected the Jewish nation to continue to 
have such a class of people as servants or slaves," 65 

Next, for the benefit of the "many, many thousands sin- 
cerely desirous of knowing what light may be obtained from 
the Bible to aid them in discriminating and performing their 

84 Conscience and the Constitution, 11. 
"Ibid, 11. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 21 

duty," Dr. Stuart takes up the question: "Is slavery, aside 
from the slave tram.:, a sin?" On this point he argues the 
antiquity of slavery, and concludes from specific biblical allus- 
ions that it must have existed before the flood, that Abraham 
possessed fifteen hundred serfs, and that before the birth of 
Isaac he had intended to make a Damascene slave his heir. 66 

After remarking on the fact that among the Hebrews the 
year of Jubilee applied only to Israelitish slaves, not to aliens, 
Dr. Stuart considers the various classes of servants among the 
Jews and the treatment accorded to them, and shows that 
when the law was first given only male servants had the priv- 
ilege of the year of Jubilee, and that it was not until the He- 
brews had been under the guidance of Moses for forty years 
that the same right was granted to females. This fact he 
calls to the particular attention of those who demand imme- 
diate emancipation/' 37 The Mosaic law required the return 
of escaped Hebrew slaves but not of slaves who had escaped 
from the neighboring heathen, because under Hebrew bon- 
dage the slave would have advantages which he could not have 
if he were the servant of a heathen master. This fact, Dr. 
Stuart points out, does not permit Northerners to hold slaves 
who have escaped from southern masters, because Southern- 
ers are certainly not heathen. The law also gives "an un- 
limited right to purchase (not to steal) bond-men and bond- 
women of the heathen who shall be bond-men forever with 
no year of jubilee." For such sentiments. Dr. Stuart says, 
"the Abolitionists will probably think very ill of Moses and 
not be very courteous toward me for quoting him." 68 

Next in order comes the testimony of the prophets, "who 
could not contradict the law of Moses, yet the Abolitionists 
have twisted texts to make it appear that they do." Individual 
texts are cited which were made by the Abolitionists to do 
duty in the slavery controversy, but which have in reality no 
connection with the subject. In concluding his review of the 
position of the Old Testament on slavery Dr. Stuart says : 

The Jews were permitted to purchase and hold slaves who were 
native Hebrews. But this could only be done for six years at a time. 

"Ibid. 22, 23. 
* T find, 29. 

"Ibid. 34. 

22 Historical Papers 

Moses iuad.. advances in the matter of humane treatment, but the 
sinfulness of such slavery so modified Moses never once intimates. 
Furthermore God would not have sanctioned a positive evil among 
his chosen people. 68 

As to the attitude of the New Testament, Dr. Stuart finds 
that Christ, whose mission concerned sin, not government, 
did not mention slavery, and that no apostle was directly 
hostile to it. 70 Paul's attitude he sums up thus : "If you are 
a slave, do not make a fuss about it. Let every man abide 
in statu quo. If you have spiritual freedom, civil bondage 
does not matter." 71 Summarizing the whole attitude of the 
New Testament, he says : 

Not one word has Christ said to annul the Mosaic law while it 
lasted. Neither Peter nor Paul have uttered one. Neither of these has 
said to Christian masters.. "Instantly free your slaves." Yet they 
lived under the Roman laws concernnig slavery which were rigid to 
the last degree. How is it explicable on any ground when we view 
them as humane and benevolent teachers — and especially as having a 
divine commission — how is it possible that they should not have de- 
clared openly and explicitly against a malum in sef 2 

The next topic discussed is less directly scriptural. It is 
"the influence which Christian principles should have in our 
minds in relation to slavery and to the agitated questions of 
the day." Dr. Stuart argues that the constitutional require- 
ment that slaves shall be returned is legally sound, and that, 
although he personally believes that it is, in the broadest sense. 
not desirable that one man should hold another as property, 
yet it is a question which each state and each individual must 
decide for himself, and other states must respect that de- 
cision. 73 In reply to the contention that conscience is a higher 
law than the constitution, Dr. Stuart cites the biblical case of 
Onesimus whom Paul returned to Philemon that he might "re- 
ceive him forever. Paul's Christian conscience would not per- 
mit him to injure the vested right of Philemon." The ap- 
plication 'is made very plain in the words : "Paul's course is 
very different from that of the Abolitionists." 74 Dr. Stuart 

68 Ibid. 41. 

™ Ibid. 43-51. 

n Ibid. 51. 

n Ibid. 55. 

n Ibid. 56-59. 

"Ibid. 59. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 23 

lurcher portrays the fallibility of the human conscience by 

citing the conscientious action of Saul in persecuting the Chris- 
tians and of the Hindoo mother in sacrificing her child in the 
Ganges. He says : 

"If there is a higher law, it was discovered by the Abolitionists 
who condemn the conduct of Paul." As an illustration of his point 
he cites a member of Congress who declared "he would rather han? 
a man for sending back a runaway slave than for any other crime 
whatever." "Alas," says Dr. Stuart, recurring to the case of Onesi- 
mus, "for the Aposrle Paul if he were now among us and should fall 
into his clutches. This noble martyr received from the Jews five 
times forty stripes save one; thrice he was beaten with cudgel-rr.,;s ; 
once he was stoned : thrice he suffered ship-wrck ; besides enduring 
an infinitude of other vexations and annoyances; but now he would 
fare worse, he would be hanged by the neck until dead in the very 
midst of a Christian land. 75 

In the pages which follow Dr. Stuart turns from a biblical 
to a purely political view of the situation and expresses his 
opposition to the Mason Act, his conviction of the futility of 
the Wilmot Proviso, and his disapproval of various state ac- 
tivities, — of the South Carolina Seaman's Act, but no less of 
the legislation by which "no colored freeman can settle in 
Ohio." 70 He further says that the whole United States is 
wild on the subject of slavery, and that the action of both 
North and South should be governed not by minor prohibitions 
or permissions of the Scripture, but by its broader teachings 
which deal with love and brotherly kindness. From such pre- 
cepts Dr. Stuart draws for the South the lesson that the ideal 
state is one in which universal freedom exists, 77 but his ap- 
plication is no less pointedly directed toward the Abolitionists. 
To them he says : "No wonder the South is agitated by the 
course of the Abolitionists, for to be called man-stealers, mur- 
derers, tyrants, villains, and every other reproachful name 
which the rich vocabulary of the Abolitionists affords is 
enough to wake the dead to life." Such men as the Abolition- 
ists, he says, cannot see the truth of Mr. Webster's declara- 
tion that "Abolition has helped rivet the chains of the slave 
and make his bondage more severe and certain, cannot bear 

n Ibid. 64. 
w Ibid. 67-82 
17 Ibid. 103-107. 

24 Historical Papers 

to be told the truth that all this noise and confusion and per- 
petual vituperation and contumely are much ado about noth- 
ing." 78 

For the South he finds further palliation in the fact that 
slavery was introduced not by Southerners but by Englishmen, 
and that the slave trade was carried on by New Englanders 
rather than by Southerners. He believes that "universal and 
immediate emancipation would be little short of insanity. 
There should be gradual, but certain, emancipation." Freed 
slaves, he thinks, should be colonized either in Africa or on 
government reservations. Above all, he begs the agitated fac- 
tions to "follow after the things which make for peace" and 
to "recompense no man evil for evil" in order that the Union 
may not be destroyed. 79 On the whole Dr. Stuart admitted 
the literal right to hold slaves, a right which should not be in- 
terfered with, but he believed also in the greater right, the 
right of all men to freedom, and he hoped for the day when 
the negroes should possess this right. He faced his subject 
fairly and courageously. Altogether his book makes a greater 
appeal to the modern reader than do any of those written 
in the North in the defense of slavery. 

Another of the northern schoolmen who defended slavery 
was Nathan Lord, who was from 1828 until 1863 President 
of Dartmouth College. In 1863 he resigned because his views 
on slavery had led the trustees of the college "seriously to 
demand whether its interests did not demand a change in 
the presidency. "f° 

Dr. Lord's pro-slavery views were probably based largely 
upon his abhorrence of the doctrines of Thomas Jefferson and 
his firm belief in the verbal inspiration in the Scriptures. His 
first publication on the subject of slavery was a pamphlet of 
lirty-two pages, entitled A Letter of Inquiry to Ministers 
of the Gospel of all Denominations on the Subject of Slavery 
by a Northern Presbyter. It was printed in 1854. In this 
* amphlet Dr.* Lord asks his ecclesiastical brethren eleven ques- 
tions. His initial inquiry is: "Whether it does not especially 
concern ministers of the gospel to consider slavery as a ques- 

i- ■ 

n Ibid. 108. 

"Ibid. 112-115. 

* John Lord, Nathan Lord, 12 (Publications of New Hampshire Hist. Society). 

Religious Defense of Slavery ix the North 25 

tion of Divine right?" He next proceeds to inquire, "Whether 
slavery is not an institution of God according to Natural Re- 
ligion?" He finds that the natural depravity of man has 
necessitated slavery, which we must conclude is a part of 
God's wise providence for the reformation of the world. It 
would, indeed, be a "reflection upon the character of God to 
conclude otherwise, just as it would be to conclude that sick- 
ness, pain, death, or frost, mildews, earthquakes and volcanoes, 
or the subjection of the weak to powerful animals, or of the 
whole to man are not naturally parts of God's comprehensive, 
righteous, and for aught we know, notwithstanding irregu- 
larities, the best possible administration of a disordered sys- 



Having reconciled slavery with natural religion, Dr. Lord 
inquires, "Whether slavery is not also a positive institution of 
Revealed Religion?" In his argument upon this topic he 
naturally accepts the statements of the Bible as a positive 
criterion for conduct in all ages and circumstances. He 
raises the question as to whether the curse of Ham did not 
fall upon all of his descendants just as the blessing of Abra- 
ham rested upon the whole race of the Hebrews. He cites the 
Mosaic code in which the buying and selling of slaves "were re- 
ouired and resnilated as necessarv parts of the theocratic in- 
stitution, without which his wonderful designs in separating 
the Jewish nation and blessing the tribe of Shem could not 
have been accomplished," and the recognition and moral or- 
dering of slavery in the precepts subsequently given to all 
races by Christ and his apostles," as topics worthy of study 
on the part of his fellow ministers. 82 

Having reconciled slavery with both natural and revealed 
religion. Dr. Lord next makes inquiries in regard to the prac- 
tical workings of a system of slavery : 

"Whether the holding of slaves as ordained by natural and 
revealed religion can be inconsistent with providence or the 
will of God, and particularly with the law of love?" 

"Whether interpretations of this law which are in oppo- 
sition to the Scriptures are not fallacious?" 

n Letcer of Inquiry, 4-7. 
■ Ibid. 8, 9. 

26 Historical Papers 

"Whether there is any more force in objections against the 
institution of slavery itself, in distinction from its abuses, 
than would exist in respect to domestic, civil, or ecclesiastical 
government ?" 

"Whether the Nebraska Bill is of great consequence to 
slavery itself aside from its actual or possible abuses?" 

"Whether, since slavery is a part of the institution of God 
for the government of the world and the betterment of the 
African race, it is not unwise and hazardous for Christian 
men to denounce and oppose the institution itself apart from 
its abuses ?" 

"Whether the constant play upon the public sympathy and 
the spread of a new and visionary philosophy which subjects 
the Scripture to the interpretation of reason and sets man's 
imaginary rights above his duties, his happiness above his 
virtue, have not caused an unhinging of the public mind, 
greatly exaggerated existing facts, and placed the nation in 
danger of dissolution?" 

"Whether, although slaveholding states be justified in re- 
spect to the institution of slavery, they can be justified in any 
of the abuses of the institution?" 

"Whether a minister may not receive charity although he 
differ from his brethren in his honest views?" 83 

The charity which Dr. Lord sought was, in many instances, 
not forthcoming. There was a storm of protest from various 
sources, but particularly from the New Englander, and in 1855 
Dr. Lord, "for the sake of the ultimate repentance and salva- 
tion of his critic and to show that he did not intend to defend 
slavery as it exists in the moribund fancy of the reviewer," 
issued a second pamphlet, this time over his own signature. 
The pamphlet is entitled A Northern Presbyters Second Let- 
ter to Ministers of all Denominations on the subject of Slav- 
ery, by Nathan Lord, President of Dartmouth College. In 
this pamphlet Dr. Lord introduces little new argument, he 
merely expounds what to him would seem the logical answers 
to the inquiries of his former pamphlet. 

Five years later, on December 1, 1859, at the request of a 
former pupil from Richmond, Dr. Lord wrote A Letter to 

"Ibid. 11-31. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 27 

/. M. Conrad, Esq., on Slavery, which was published in the 
Richmond Whig and also in pamphlet form. In this letter Br. 
Lord expresses his disapproval of the John Brown raid and 
takes occasion again to deplore the current philosophy which 
elevates liberty and humanity above submission to the Divine 
will. He also prophesies the ultimate dissolution of the Union 
and expresses his belief that throughout the disturbances of 
the day Providence is working out the curse of Ham, and that, 
although slavery as an institution might be abolished, it would 
be impossible to discontinue actual, practical slavery until the 
will of God had been accomplished. 

Altogether Dr. Lord's consideration of slavery is theoret- 
ical rather than practical ; to him slavery was not a concrete 
institution but an abstract principle, an academic question 
which was to be settled not by a consideration of the facts as 
they existed, but by an application to contemporary problems 
of theories derived from a literal interpretation of biblical ref- 
erences to the subject. 


In addition to these pamphlets there were several books 
written in the North in the defense of slave ry. As Albert 
Bushnell Hart says: "It is a significant fact that among the 
most thoroughgoing defenses of slavery are four books by 
Northerners.'' 34 Three of these are by ministers and treat 
the question from a religious point of view. 

The earliest is A South-Side View of Slavery; or Three 
Months at the South, by Rev. Nehemiah Adams, of Boston. 
If Dr. Lord's consideration of slavery is based on a theoret- 
ical rather than a practical knowdedge of the institution. Dr. 
Adams could certainly claim that his views were founded upon 
a personal acquaintance with his subject. His book is the re- 
sult of a three-months' visit in South Carolina, a visit which 
completely revolutionized the good doctor's preconceived con- 
ceptions of slavery. He looked upon it at close range and 
found it, upon the whole, good. In regard to the slaves he 
says: "Ten thousands of people are miserable on their account, 
and my wonder was that they were not continually verifying 

M Hart, Slavery and Abolition, 337. 

28 Historical Papers 

arid warranting the distress oi which they are the occasion." 83 

He concludes that it his northern brethren "act fraternally 
with the South 3 defend them against interference, and abstain 
from everything accusing and dictatorial, and leave them to 
manage their institution in view of their accountability to God, 
we may expect that African slavery will cease to be anything 
but a means of good to the African race." 86 As for emanci- 
pation, Dr. Adams believed that it would do more harm than 
good. The one objection which the benign doctor found to 
slavery was that it loosened family ties among the negroes, 
but this same evil, he assures us,, exists among the lower classes 
in all forms of society/ 7 

Having found slavery such a beneficent institution. Dr. 
Adams naturally sought and discovered Scriptural sanction 
for it. He finds that '"'when the Hebrew nation was organized 
by the Most High, he found among the people masters and 
slaves. He could have purged out siaveholding by positive 
enactments : He could have rid the people of ail slave owners 
by making their dead bodies fall in the wilderness. Instead 
of this He made slavery the subject of legislation, prescribed 
its duties, and protected the parties concerned in the perform- 
ance of them."'" s Dr. Adams held that slavery was a tem- 
porary institution which "when no longer available for good 
. . . . will be abolished.'" He commended the spirit with 
which the apostles treated the subject and decided that "the 
same God who framed the Mosaic code is evidently still at 
work directing His servants the apostles how to deal with 
slavery. " He cites the instance of Paul and Onesimus and 
finds that "the difference in the apostles' way of dealing with 
slavery' and with other evils teaches clearly that the relation 
is not, in their view, sinful. 89 He believes that the Abolition- 
ists are the greatest enemies to emancipation, which can be 
wrought only by "spiritual religion." The Abolitionists, he 
says, would, trans form the brotherlv spirit of Paul into one 
which would make the early Christians ''watch the arrival of 
ships to receive a fugitive consigned by 'the saints and faithful 

"Adams, Scuth-Side View of Slavery (1854), 23. 

M lbid 201 

" fbid. ?6 ft. 

m lbid. 190. 

- Iind. 194, 195. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 29 

brethren which are at Colosse' to the 'friends of the slave 
at Corinth.' " He considers "zeal against slavery one of the 
chief modern foes of the Bible." 

Dr. Adams' views on slavery are, on the. whole, too 
roseate for even a candid Southerner to accept and are founded 
rather upon the favorable reaction produced by a brief and 
pleasant view of slavery than upon a thoroughgoing study oi 
the institution as a whole. 

Rev. Samuel Seabury, another of the northern defenders 
of slavery, endeavored to meet the Abolitionists on their own 
ground. In his book, American Slavery Justified by the Laze 
of Nature, which was published in Boston in 1861, he takes 
as the basis of his argument the "Higher Law" to which the 
Abolitionists so frequently appealed. His arguments are in 
many cases more ingenious than convincing. His main thesis 
is that slavery — not absolute slavery, but slavery in the limited 
form in which it exists in the United States — is not a moral 
wrong. His argument in proof of this view is based upon 
the "Law of Nature, stable, eternal, and sufficiently known 
to Christians whether their knowledge of it be entirely due 
to revelation or partly to their own reason." 90 From this Lav 
of Nature spring the rights of man which are of two kinds 
"The first kind comprises those rights which consist of liberty 
to exact of others what the Law of Nature requires them to 
render us ; the second comprise those rights which authorize 
us to have or do all which the Law of Nature does not for- 
bid." 91 There are, he says, two relations to society, the im- 
mediate and the mediate. The immediate relation is held only 
by free men ; the mediate relation is held through free men 
and is the relation occupied by women, children, and servants. 
Upon this conception he bases his most ardent plea for the 
necessity of slavery. The mediate relation must not be dis- 
turbed, for it "conduces to the material welfare and also to 
the prosperity of the community" 92 and, just as the freedom 
of women from masculine authority would result in an un- 
desirable revolution in society, so the freedom of slaves would 

90 Seabury, Slavery Justified by the Law of Nature, 48. 
n Ibid. 57. 
w Ibid. 81. 

30 Historical Papers 

be a curse rather than a blessing. 1 '" Family tie? are in- 
disoluble ; hence the state has little power over them ; the ties 
of slave and master are less binding, and therefore more un- 
der the control of the state. The relation, however, has grown 
up in the state next to the relation of parent and child, and the 
rights and obligations involved in it were in force before men 
formed themselves into political organizations. Since the 
bondage of woman to man existed in Paradise, bondage is a 
natural relation, and since the relation may be abused, and 
since only that which is good may be perverted, bondage is 
fundamentally a good relation. 04 

The historical origin of slavery is the next topic considered. 
Slavery grew out of the wants of society and was augmented 
by the results of wars and by the right of a man to sell his 
own children. At first slavery was temporary, but it later 
became permanent and hereditary. Slavery is, indeed, founded 
upon the expressed or tacit consent of the slaves, otherwise 
there would be insurrections, and since the relation is founded 
upon the consent of the slaves, the relation must be agreeable, 
and the foundation of the master's right must, therefore, be 
valid. 95 

The statement in the Justinian Code that slavery is "against 
nature" is ingeniously explained as meaning that slavery is 
not natural in the sense of being physically natural, but that 
it is natural in the sense of being hereditary, for just as the 
children of Arabs are Arabs, so the children of slaves are 
slaves. Although they may lack civil liberty, they have natural 
liberty, and indeed, have more than natural liberty, for they 
have protection, which is not included in natural liberty. 96 

Dr.. Seabury's actual Scriptural argument for slavery is 
similar to that of his predecessors. The Mosaic law is again 
cited, as are the curse of Ham and the precepts of Paul. The 
fact that the negro can look forward to no year of Jubilee 
such as was the hope of the Hebrews is explained as being 
due not to the fact that he is a slave, but to the fact that he 

-Ibid. 89. 

"Ibid. 86, 87, 92. 

-Ibid. 98. 

-Ibid. 117ff. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 31 

is an alien for whom the government of the United States 
was not intended. 

In conclusion Dr. Seabury says : "We may assume the 
charge and custody of the African race in humble, reverent, 
and grateful conviction that in so doing we are working to- 
gether with God for the accomplishment of his wise purpose. 97 

Some of the premises upon which Dr. Seabury bases his 
arguments seem unsound, and the manner in which he draws 
his conclusions seems illogical, but his work is undoubtedly 
original, and to a reader who would accept profusion of words 
for profundity of thought it would doubtless appear con- 

Another writer on slavery was Bishop John Henry Hop- 
kins, of the Episcopal Diocese of New York. In 1860 ''sev- 
eral gentlemen of New York" requested Bishop Hopkins to 
express his opinion on slavery. In reply he wrote a pamphlet 
which was published in January 1861. 98 In 1863, at the re- 
quest of a group of Episcopalians in Philadelphia, he published 
a second pamphlet on the subject. This second pamphlet 
elicited an indignant protest from a large number of clergy- 
men of the Diocese of Pennsylvania. Chief among the pro- 
testants was Bishop Alonzo Potter. The result of the dis- 
cussion was that in 1864 Bishop Hopkins wrote a book of 
forty-eight chapters, each of which is specifically addressed to 
his "Right Reverend Brother" Bishop Potter. The title of 
the volume was A Scriptural, Ecclesiastical, and Historical 
View of Slavery. 

In the pamphlet Bishop Hopkins conhnes himself to a 
literal-minded and minute survey of the Biblical statements on 
the subject of slavery. In the book he considers also the ex- 
amples and precepts of the church fathers and of the com- 
mentators, as well as the testimony of historians and men of 
letters. He also gives particular attention to the infidelity 
which was, to his mind, indissolubly connected with the aboli- 
tion movement. 

The biblical argument contained in the pamphlet gives 
foremost place to the declaration of Noah in regard to Shem 

Ibid. 225. 

Hopkins, Bible View of Slavery, 3. 

32 Historical Papers 

and Japeth, "Canaan shall be his servant." Further proof that 
slavery was divinely ordained is found in the mention of 
Abraham's bond servants who were "bought with a price", and 
the fact that Hagar was commanded to "submit herself to her 
mistress." Even in the Ten Commandments Bishop Hopkins 

finds sanction for slavery, for, "Thou shalt not covet 

thy neighbor's man-servant, nor his maid-servant." The sep- 
aration of families is also justified by the law which gives to 
the Hebrew master the wife and children of a freed servant. 
The laws regarding the treatment of slaves and the purchase 
of heathen bond-servants are further proof of the divine favor 
which rests upon the institution." ''With this law before his 
eyes," says Bishop Hopkins, ''what Christian can believe that 
the Almighty attached immorality to slavery?" 

The fact that Christ did not allude to slavery is considered 
proof that he condoned the institution, for he had not come 
to destroy the law, but to fulfill it. If Christ's approval of 
slavery was merely negative, the apostles give positive proof 
of the Divine approbation which rests upon it, for Paul re- 
peatedly exhorts servants (who were, of course, slaves, says 
the Bishop), to obey their masters and he was instrumental 
in returning Onesimus to his master, Philemon. 

In regard to southern slavery Bishop Hopkins finds that 
"there is incomparably more mutual love than can ever be 
found between employer and hireling." Turning from the 
purely scriptural foundations of slavery, Bishop Hopkins 
finds that the right of liberty guaranteed under the Consti- 
tution is not, under the law of God, an inalienable right, and 
that the doctrine does not "harmonize with the great doctrine 
of the Bible that the Almighty Ruler appoints to every man 
his lot on earth and commands him to be thankful for his lot. 
and that we must submit ourselves to those who have rule 
over us." 100 His final conclusion is that "the slavery of the 
negro race, as maintained in the Southern States, appears to 
me fully authorized both in the Old and the New Testaments." 
and is the "only instrumentality through which the heathen 

"Ibid. 99-110. 
100 Ibid. 20, 28. 

Religious Defense of Slavery in the North 33 

posterity of Ham have been raised at all" in the scale of 
humanity. 101 

Such, then, is the argument of the pamphlet. In the book, 
which is a response to his "Right Reverend Brother", Bishop 
Potter, Hopkins declares the abolition movement to be "con- 
trary to the Bible, the Church, the Constitution, and the true 
interest of the colored race." He repeats his arguments in 
regard to the posterity of Canaan and at great length upholds 
his belief that the negroes are these same descendants. He 
justifies slavery in the South by a favorable comparison with 
slavery as it existed in the days of the apostles and quotes 
every available church authority in support of the institution. 
He argues against the violent methods of the abolitionists and 
contends that slavery will, if left to itself, die out as it did 
in Rome, and as villeinage did in England. He finds that 
slaves receive on the whole better treatment than do laborers 
of any other class, and that corporal punishment for slaves 
was sanctioned by the Leviticai code. His chief argument 
against the abolition movement is that it is intimately asso- 
ciated with infidelity. 

In his concluding paragraph Bishop Hopkins states that 
his view of slavery is "the same truth which was held from the 
beginning, founded on the absolute will of the Almighty and 
All-Wise Creator, taught by Moses and the prophets, sanc- 
tioned by the inspired apostles, and maintained by the Holy 
Catholic Church throughout the world even to our own day." 

On the whole, Bishop Hopkins' views on slavery would 
have done credit to the most ardent Calvinistic believer in 
predestination, and, like those of Dr. Lord, they take a theor- 
etical rather than a practical view of the question. Indeed, the 
arguments of the two writers are strikingly similar. It is in 
length rather than in depth or breadth that Bishop Hopkins 
excels Dr. Lord. 


In summarizing the attitude of the churches and religious 
leaders on the subject of slavery, we find that in the early part 
of the nineteenth century religious sentiment was strongly 

Ibid. 29. 

34 Historical Papers 

against the institution. As the churches grew in influence, 
however, and as greater numbers of slaveholders became 
church members, this uncompromising hostility was relaxed. 
About the same time theological seminaries were springing up, 
and the study of the Bible, with emphasis upon its verbal in- 
spiration, was increasing; through this literal interpretation of 
the Scriptures the church leaders found warrant for slavery. 
By the time the abolition movement came into prominence in 
1830, among the leaders in the defense of slavery were church 
members, and abolition was looked upon as a species of in- 
fidelity. As the abolition movement gained ground, how- 
ever, many church members accepted its principles, but the 
greater proportion of the religious leaders continued to oppose 
it. The reason for this opposition lay chiefly in the fact that 
nearly all of the denominations were nation-wide in their 
spheres of activity, and the northern leaders feared that an 
acceptance of abolition would alienate the southern members. 
In the years between 1835 and 1845, in spite of the lack of 
cooperation of the churches, the abolition movement swept the 
North, and the division of the churches was the inevitable 
result. Spite of this division many prominent churchmen 
strove for unity and thus became confirmed in their belief that 
slavery was an institution founded upon biblical authority. 
Almost until the outcome, of the Civil War had definitely set- 
tled the issue in the United States, several of these men con- 
tinued active in their religious defense of slavery. 


Militia in North Carolina in Colonial 
and Revolutionary Times 1 

Luther Lafayette Gobbel 

The fact that the white settlers in North Carolina were 
transplanted, as it were, from a civilized soil into a new and 
undeveloped country inhabited by wild beasts, strange birds, 
and savage Indian tribes, made necessary some organized 
means of protection. And as time passed, other circumstances 
made the need more urgent. To the south of Carolina, in 
Florida, were the Spaniards, who were none too friendly with 
their English rivals north of them. Piracy also flourished off 
the coast of North Carolina and added another cause for an 
organization for protection. 

But why not have organized a standing army? In the 
first place, the settlers had an inherent prejudice against a 
standing army. In the second place, the expense attached to 
the maintenance or such an organization would have been too 
great for the settlers to bear. 2 The Proprietors also cared little 
for the safety of the people and gave nothing for their support 
or development. 3 Thirdly, the English tradition was not con- 
ducive to the establishment of a militia system. Finally, the 
militia system allowed the men to remain under arms for a 
short time during the period of war or of eminent danger, 
and then allowed them to return to their regular employment. 


Although the first charter of Carolina made no mention of 
a militia as such, the charters of 1663 and 1665 gave to the 
Proprietors the right to fortify for defense and to raise men to 
go against the native enemy, pirates, and robbers. 4 The Pro- 
prietors, then, possessed the right to call the men into service 
and to appoint a leader or commander-in-chief. As time 
went on the governor, or the president of the council in his 
absence, came to be commander-in-chief with duties to levy, 
arm, and muster all the able-bodied men, masters and ser- 
vants, of the province, in order to put down insurrections and 

1 This essay was written in the year 1917-18 in competition for the Southern 
History Prize of the Trinity College Historical Society. 
1 State Records XIV, 72. 
'Colonial Records I, 632. 
*C. R. I, 30; 111-112. 

36 Historical Papers 

riots, to drive out the invaders, or to aid a neighboring colony 
in emergency. 5 

Likewise the Concessions of 1665 conferred on the legisla- 
ture the power to build fortresses in various counties, to raise 
soldiers to defend the counties against rebellion, mutiny, In- 
dians, strangers, and foreigners, and to "pursue the enemy by 
sea as well as by land, if need be out the limit and jurisdiction 
of the county with the particular consent of the governor and 
under the conduct of our Lieutenant-General, or commander- 
in-chief, or whom he shall appoint." 

The Fundamental Constitutions of 1669, framed by Locke, 
also made provision for some form of organized protection. 
We find in it provisions for an armed force which resembles 
closely the more modern militia. "All inhabitants and freemen 
of Carolina above seventeen years of age and under sixty 
shall be bound to bear arms and serve as soldiers whenever 
the Grand Council shall hnd it necessary." 7 

In none of these measures, however, was there made any 
provision for pay. The Proprietors cared little for the settlers 
and did nothing for their protection. Instead of having any- 
definite system before 1715, there were spasmodic attempts 
by a few settlers, more vitally threatened, to repel the enemy at 
the time of attack or imminent danger: but there was no well- 
organized system. The first appropriation for the common 
defense we have any record of was made in April, 1712, when 
the legislature authorized an issue of ±4,000 to pay for the 
Tuscarora War. 8 

The first law which gave any very full and specific provis- 
ions for the organization and direction of militia was enacted 
in 1715. 9 The Tuscarora War of 1712 and the activity of the 
pirates were flaring and bitter reminders of the need for or- 
ganized effort against the common enemy. It took the lesson 
of war to pull the people together. The act referred to pro- 
vided that. the militia should consist of all freemen between 
the ages of 16 and 60 years, who were to be divided into com- 
panies commanded by captains. The captains were given two 

•C. R. III. 70, 112, 113; IV, 553. 

8 C. R. I, 83. 

T C. R. I, 205, Art. 116. 

8 Ashe, History of N. C. I, 186; C. R. I. 837-839. 

»S. R. XXIII, 29-31. 

Militia in North Carolina 37 

months from the time of the publication of the act to make a 
roll of all such men, under penalty of £5 for neglect. The 
lists were to be revised in October of each year, and the same 
penalty was to be exacted for neglect of this duty. To en- 
force attendance at regular musters of the men, equipped with 
"a good gun, well-fixed sword, and at least six charges of 
powder and balls, " a penalty of £5, with an additional two shill- 
ing six pence for lack of accoutrement, was provided. A 
number of people were exempted from musters, but these had 
to serve in case of invasion or rebellion. Ministers of the 
Church of England, practicing physicians or chirurgeons, 
Lords Proprietors. Deputy Secretaries, attorneys, members of 
the General Assembly, clerks, marshals, constables, and 
justices of the peace were so exempted. The governor, as 
commander-in-chief, was given the power to call out the 
militia and compel attendance to go against the invading In- 
dians. Provision was also made for the care of those injured 
in the service. The eighth section of this act provided that if 
a wounded soldier was unable to pay for his own medical at- 
tention, "if he was unable to cure himself," he might be cured 
by public charge, "and have one good negro man-slave pur- 
chased for him." The family of a soldier killed was also to 
be aided; but this provision was very general, and it is likely 
that the unfortunates never received much aid from the gov- 
ernment. For disobedience to officers, soldiers were to be 
punished at the discretion of the captain "by tying Xeck and 
Heels, by Running the Gauntlet, Riding the Wooden Horse," 
etc. A court martial was provided for the trial of cases of 
desertion during times- of alarm. The pay which the militia- 
men were to get when in actual service was fixed as follows : 

Colonel 10 shillings per diem 

Lieutenant Colonel 9 shillings per diem 

Major 8 shillings per diem 

Captain 5 shillings per diem 

Aid Major 5 shillings per diem 

Lieutenant 3 shillings, 6 pence per diem 

Ensign 3 shillings per diem 

Sergeant 2 shillings per diem 

Private .1 shilling, 6 pence per diem 

No commanding officer, however, who had under him less 
than twenty men was to be paid more than the pay of an 

38 Historical Papers 

erisign; having less than forty men, the pay of a lieu- 
tenant; less than sixty men, not more than the pay of a cap- 
tain; less than a hundred men, not more than the pay of a 
major; and the officer who had command of less than two 
hundred men was allowed no more than the pay of a colonel. 
If a soldier was unable to pay the fines incurred by non-at- 
tendance, etc., he was to be hired out at the rate of four shill- 
ings a week until the fines were paid off. 

This act of 1715 remained in force until it was supplanted 
by the act of 1740. However it was not altogether satisfac- 
tory. The fact that the men had to provide themselves with 
equipment at their own expense and that when the men did 
serve they had difficulty in collecting the promised pay, was 
not conducive to the establishment of a well-organized sys- 
tem. Consequently in 1729, the time when the colony was 
transferred from the Proprietors to the Crown, we learn that 
"there was a militia system which provided for the organiza- 
tion of the able-bodied men into companies and regiments. 
But there were neither arms, ammunition, nor fortifications. " 1(> 
This situation continued through Governor Burrington's ad- 
ministration; in fact no acts of importance regarding the or- 
ganization of the militia were passed during the period from 
1729 to 1740. In A Short Discourse on the Present State of 
the Colonies in America with Respect to the interest of 
Great Britain, written in 1726, we find, in a measure, the jus- 
tification for this condition: U A militia in an arbitrary and 
tyrannical government may possibly be of some service to 
the Governing Power, but we learn from experience that in 
a free country it is of little use. The people in the planta- 
tions are so few in proportion to the lands they possess that, 
servants being scarce, and slaves so excessively dear, the men 
are generally under a necessity there to work in order to pro- 
vide the common necessaries of life for their families, so that 
they cannot spare a day's time without great loss to their in- 
terests ; wherefore, a militia there will become more burthen- 
some to the poor people than it can be in any part of Europe." 11 

M C. R. Ill, preface, XIV. 
" C. R. II, 632. 

Militia in North Carolina 39 

Ii was in 1740 that the next militia act of any importance 
was passed. This act changed that of 1715 only slightly. In 
1746 the third militia act was passed. 12 It, too, differed only 
slightly from that of 1715 in that the period of service was 
fixed at four months instead of two, and the penalty on 
captains for failure to make the required roll of men subject 
to the draft was changed. The penalty on privates for non- 
attendance at musters was fixed at five shillings proclama- 
tion money, and two shillings eight pence additional for lack 
of equipment. There was also a small increase in the pay of 
both officers and privates. Instead of the colonels getting ten 
shillings a day, as the act of 1715 provided, they were now 
to get twelve shillings, six pence a day; instead of the pri- 
vates getting one shilling, six pence a day, they now were al- 
lowed three shillings. The other men were to receive pro- 
portional increases. This act was to continue in force three 
years ; it is rather typical of all the acts governing the organi- 
zation of the militia during the colonial period. 

When the act of 1746 expired in 1749, an act altering, 
explaining, and continuing it was passed. 13 The former act 
was thus continued for a period of five more years, with a 
few changes. The court martial was to be composed of one 
field officer, four captains, four lieutenants, three ensigns, or 
the majority of them, and it was not to have the authority to 
inflict the death penalty. Captains were to hold musters in 
the districts twice a year and no more. Formerly these mus- 
ters were held four times a year. This evident ''let up" was 
granted most likely because there was no particular danger 
immediately in sight. 

The fourth inter-colonial war, or the French and Indian 
War, as it is more commonly called, was not foreseen. The 
people were suspecting nothing and "indulged in a fatal se- 
curity." Peaceful conditions were not destined to last long. 
The shadows of a long and bloody war had to be passed 
through, and the militia laws had to be revised to meet the 
new conditions. The acts of 1756 and 1759 continued the 
act of 1746 with slight amendments and made provision, for 

u S. R. XXIII, 224-247. 
"S. R. XXIII, 331. 

40 Historical Papers 

the fifst time, for the militia to march outside the colony to 
the aid of its neighbors. 14 According to all former laws, the 
militia was to remain in the province as a means of local pro- 
tection. After these acts were passed there still remained some 
question on this point. As late as 1781 the Governor in- 
cluded in his questions and propositions the following: "It 
seems to be a prevailing opinion that the militia cannot be 
marched beyond the limits of the State without an act of the 
Assembly to authorize it." 15 

The year 1760 was a critical time for all the colonies. The 
French and Indians were hammering away at the British and 
their few colonists, and it was absolutely necessary for North 
Carolina to defend herself, even if she could not sent many 
soldiers outside of the province. The Assembly, therefore, in 
June, 1760, passed another militia act, which had as its pre- 
amble the following : "Whereas it requires a militia to be 
appointed for the Defense of the Country at this critical 
Juncture," etc. 16 This act retained many of the provisions of 
the former acts, but among the new features were provisions 
laying much stress on attendance at musters and making it 
plain whose duty it was to call out the militia in case of in- 
vasion. A penalty of ten pounds was fixed for non-atten- 
dance at musters. Each captain was to appoint a clerk to 
serve at musters, also three sergeants, three corporals, and a 
drummer. In case of insurrection or invasion the governor, 
or commander-in-chief pro tern, was given power to raise all 
or as much of the militia as was considered necessary. Mus- 
ters were changed back again to four times a year instead of 

The act of 1760 made possible the organization of cavalry 
as a branch of the militia. If from thirty to sixty men should 
desire to form a cavalry troop, they should be free from serv- 
ing in the infantry. Each cavalryman, however, had to pro- 
vide himself with "a good serviceable horse not less than 
fourteen hands high, with a good bridle, saddle, holsters, 
housings, breastplate and crupper, a case of good pistols, a 
good broad sword, twelve charges of powder, twelve sizeable 

14 Raper, North Carolina, a Study in B-itish Colonial Government, 173. 
W C R. XIX, 867. 
M S. R. XXIII, 518-22. 

Militia in North Carolina 41 

bullets, a pair of shoe-boots with suitable spurs, and a carbine 
well-fixed, with a good belt, swivel, and bucket." 

This act, moreover, also aimed at making sure that the 
higher officers performed their duties accurately and promptly. 
It ruled that any colonel failing to appear at court-martial' 
should be fined, for every offense, five pounds ; every captain. 
three pounds ; every lieutenant and ensign, forty shillings, 
"unless they shall make such excuse as the said court shall 
judge sufficient." Officers were made free from arrest by the 
civil authorities in going to and from musters. 

The period specified during which the above act was to be 
in force was six months. In the session of December, 1760, 
the Assembly continued and amended it. 17 The amendments 
were that there was to be one general muster and three pri- 
vate musters a year for the companies, and majors were made 
liable to the same fines for failure to perform their duties as 
were the colonels for failure to perform theirs. The act was 
to continue in force for two years. 

In 1762 it was necessary, on account of the time limit of 
the act of 1760, to take up in the Assembly the militia ques- 
tion again. The act of 1760 was, therefore, revised and con- 
tinued for a period of one year. 18 Among the few changes 
possibly the most noteworthy was the addition of coroners and 
constables to the list of those exempted from attendance at 

The act of 1764 extended the exemptions to school masters 
who had at least ten pupils, to overseers of public roads, and 
to pilots on the rivers. 19 

The act of 1768 is worthy of rather careful examination. 
After specifying that all freemen between 16 and 60 were 
to be enrolled, it summed up and gave a complete list of all 
classes of people exempted. 20 They were members of his 
Majesty's Council, members of the Assembly, Ministers of the 
Church of England, Presbyterian Ministers, Justices of the 
Superior Court, Secretary of the Province, practicing attor- 
neys, persons having previously ranked as high as captain, com- 

1T S. R. XXIII, 535. 

ts S. R. XXIII, 535. 
" S. R. XXIII, 596-601. 
" Davis, Revisal, 434. 

42 Historical Papers 

missioned officers, Justices of the Peace, physicians and sur- 
geons, schoolmasters of ten pupils, ferrymen, overseers of 
six taxable slaves., inspectors, public millers, coroners, con- 
stables, overseers of public works, searchers, branch pilots. 

Another noteworthy provision is that which says that all 
overseers cf as many as six slaves were to be fined if seen at 
the musters. It is very probable that this provision was made 
in order to keep the overseers on the job so as to prevent slave 
insurrections or the loss of production. A heavy penalty was 
required of those failing to respond to a call or alarm. The 
pay was the same as that provided in the act of 1746 with a 
few exceptions : the pay of captains and adjutants was changed 
from seven shillings to seven shillings, six pence, and the pay 
of privates was reduced from three shillings to two shillings a 
day. Eight pence a day, however, was allowed to the com- 
manding officer for victualizing each man in the service. A 
general muster was to be held each year at the court house in 
each county, and a court-martial was to be held there to pass 
on claims for exemption, on neglect and omission, and ap- 
peals from treatment received by captains. Ferry fees were 
not to be charged to any one attending a muster, and the act 
was to be in force for live years and no longer. 

In 1770, however, an amendment was made. 21 The pre- 
amble reads ; ''Whereas there are in divers parts of this 
province several people called Quakers, who demean them- 
selves in a quiet and peaceable manner, and from religious 
principal, are conscientiously scrupulous of bearing arms," etc. 
It was then enacted that such were not obliged to muster but 
had to be enlisted under a captain and, in case of insurrection, 
they were forced to serve or furnish a substitute or pay a 
penalty of ten pounds. This was the first exemption granted 
the Quakers, and it brought forth from them expression of 
thanks. 22 They attempted to make it plain that they were 
patriotic and not slackers, but that they had suffered in their 
consciences by the former requirement made of them. 

In 1774 the acts of 1768 and 1770 were re-enacted, with a 
few mnior changes. 23 The act of 1774 was to be in force for 

21 Davis' Revfsal, 455. 

23 C. R. IX, 176-7. 
33 S. R. XXIII, 940-5. 

Militia in North Carolina 43 

one year and no longer. The seeds of the Revolutionary War 
were now putting forth and soon a new era opened in the life 
and history of the militia. Before taking up the discussion of 
the militia during the Revolution, however, let us consider the 


The militia was employed before the Revolution, generally 
speaking, in three kinds of service, classified according to the 
interest served. The militia was primarily an organization for 
self-defense, and it was used more for this purpose than for 
any other. It was also used to assist neighboring provinces, 
and, finally, it was employed to assist the British cause in 

The militia before 1715 was practically impotent in so far 
as both organization and operation were concerned. 24 As has 
been pointed out, the charters of 1663 and 1665 and the Funda- 
mental Constitutions of 1669 gave to the Proprietors the right 
to fortify and organize for defense. But, as was also pointed 
out, on account of the weakness and incompetency of many of 
the governors, the lack of interest on the part of the Proprie- 
tors themselves, and the absence of an invasion or insurrec- 
tion which should demonstrate the necessity for united effort, 
mustering and drilling were neglected and were practically un- 
known. 25 Internal strife during the Culpepper and Carey re- 
bellions was so great that patriotism ran low. 20 When the 
Tuscarora War broke out in 1712 the province was utterly 
unprepared. In spite of the fact that only about twelve hun- 
dred Tuscaroras w r ere fighting men, they would have com- 
pletely destroyed the colony if it had not been for the timely 
and unselfish aid given by South Carolina. As Dr. Hawks 
says : "the whites; suspecting nothing, indulged in a fatal se- 
curity." 27 Governor Hyde said that "factions and the fact 
that nearly one half of the people were Quakers made it im- 
possible to raise one-half as many troops as there were In- 
dians in arms." 28 

**C. R. I, 886; Raper, North Carolina, A Study in English Colonial Govern- 
ment, 170. 

35 C. R. IT. 632-3; Raper, 171. 

" Raper 171. 

"Hawks, History of North Carolina, Vol. II, 528. 

*"Hawks, Vol. I'l, 528. 

44 Historical Papers 

Virginia was first appealed to by North Carolina, and 
Governor Spotswood took the question before the Assembly 
of that colony. Virginia agreed to aid North Carolina on con- 
dition that a claim on certain territory be given as security. 
Considering this unfair, North Carolina appealed to South 
Carolina for aid. Temporary forts were created along the 
Neuse and Pamlico rivers and along the south and southwest 
shores of the Chowan. The residue of the militia was held 
awaiting aid from South Carolina. The result of the first 
battle was such as to cause the governor and council to con- 
vey thanks to Barnwell of the South Carolina militia and to 
draw up resolutions, which were in part as follows : "that at 
least two hundred men should be raised for four months ser- 
vice, to act with the South Carolina troops, and that for the 
subsistence of the whole army magazines of supply should 
be established where Barnwell might direct, on Neuse and 
Pamlico rivers." 29 This resolution amounted to little more 
than to proclaim a very high appreciation for Barnwell's ser- 
vice, for the Proprietors did nothing to aid in the support of 
the troops. 

The operations of the pirates off the coast of North Caro- 
lina became so bold by 1713 that the people were forced to 
give greater respect and attention to the militia and to the 
common defense it afforded. Old Teach, or Blackbeard, and 
others of his type were doing their brazen deeds of robbery and 
murder at this time. In 1715 the demand for, and willingness 
to cooperate with and support, a militia system had become 
so great that the act of 1715 was passed, the provisions of 
which have already been discussed. 

In 1715 the militia had its first opportunity to serve a 
neighbor and to repay South Carolina for saving the colony 
in 1712. In that year the Yamassee, that tribe of Indians 
which supported North Carolina and South Carolina against 
the Tuscaroras, turned on the South Carolinians. To assist 
South Carolina in putting down the Yamassee, Colonel 
Maurice Moore and Colonel Theophilus Hastings were put 
in charge of a number of companies of militia and were sent 
to South Carolina. 

» Hawks, II, 528. 

Militia in North Carolina 45 

For several years after the passage of the act of 1715, on 
account of the fear of another Indian uprising, caused by the 
bloody loss by the Indian Massacre and the Tuscarora War, 
musters and drills were held regularly. But the Tuscaroras 
soon moved to New York and the provisions of the act were 
then relaxed. There was a drift into the old rut of careless- 
ness. The chief fault of the whole system is thus demon- 
strated. Emergency revealed unpreparedness and caused ac- 
tion, in time to be "too late." Strict vigilance was then kept 
for a period; finally the scare passed away, and the system 
fell into decay. 

The next emergency finds another instance of unprepared- 
ness. At the time of the transfer of the province from the 
Lords Proprietors to the Crown in 1729 there existed the old 
neglected system ; there were neither arms, ammunition, nor 
fortifications/' There was very little or no use made of the 
militia between the years 1715-40, and during Governor Bnrr- 
ington's administration, from 1729 to 1734, the militia fell into 
decay, and there were no militia acts passed. Then in 1740 
came the first call for the use of the militia to serve the mother 
country. The cause was not altogether altruistic, for it was 
to the interest of the colonies to defeat the Spaniards. Conse- 
quently, when Governor Johnston, in carrying out his instruc- 
tions from the crown to raise troops, called a special session of 
the Assembly, his request found a quick response. An appro- 
priation of £12,000 was made to support the levies, and three 
companies of one hundred men each were raised in the north- 
ern counties. Others would have served if provisions had 
been made for them. 31 These three companies served in the 
West Indies, and only a few of the men returned. Captain 
Innes, however, who commanded one company, won such dis- 
tinction that in 1756 he was made commander-in-chief of the 
Virginia forces against the French and Indians.- 32 The Span- 
iards did not allow the operations to be confined around the 
West Indies, but from 1741 to 1748 frequent invasions on 
the coast were made. The absence of forts made it more im- 
perative to have strong forces of militia to drive back the in- 

30 e R. III. XIV. 

31 A&be, A History of North Carolina, I, 260-1. 
"Ibid. 261. 

46 Historical Papers 

vaders 5 who insisted on landing, destroying and carrying off 
goods and cattle. In 1741 Spanish privateers took possession 
of Ocraeoke Inlet. Eventually they were driven away, but 
not until their depredations had cost the people over £10,000. 33 

In 1744 the Spanish privateers again harassed the coast 
and in August, 1747, boldly entered the harbor at Beaufort. 
Major Enoch Ward hastily gathered some militia and held 
them at bay until August 26, when the town was surrendered 
to the Spaniards. Finally, the Spaniards were driven away, 
but not for good, for the attacks continued to September 10, 
1748. On September 4, militia companies were hurried to 
the scene to check the Spaniards, who were reported to be 
coming up the river. For four days, September 6 to 10, the 
Spaniards had possession of Brunswick; hostilities w r ere rag- 
ing. On September 10, the militia under Major John Swann, 
Captains William Dry, John Ashe, and John Sampson won 
out, 34 

The next use made of the militia was in defending the wes- 
tern frontier and sending aid to Virginia against the French 
and Indians. The French held Canada and Louisiana and 
were ambitiously desirous of connecting these possessions by 
taking the rich Ohio valley. They consequently stirred up 
the Indians where possible and they did not have a very 
hard task and set about to accomplish their purpose. Vir- 
ginia was attacked in 1754 and was being hard pressed. The 
Crown therefore called on Governor Dobbs, who responded 
promptly to the request. The military strength of the province 
in 1754 was about 15,000 infantry, 400 mounted men, 1,000 
exempt from muster, and about 1,500 not enrolled. There 
were 22 counties, in each of which President Rowan had 
formed a regiment of infantry, "the militia having fallen much 
to decay during the administration of Governor Johnston." 3 
In September, 1754, the legislature acted promptly and voted 
£12,000 to equip a regiment of 750 men to go to Vir- 
ginia, "the first troops raised by any British colony in 
America to fight outside of its own borders in behalf of a 
common cause/' The number was fixed at 750. under the 

M Ibid. 270. 

**Ibid. 271; S. R. XXII, 263-286. 

*C. R., V. pp. XU, 123-4. 

Militia in North Carolina 47 

impression that North Carolina would not have to support 
them after they arrived in Virginia. But finding every prov- 
ince would have to finance its own troops, North Carolina 
reduced the number to three hundred men, which was still 
one hundred and fifty more than Virginia had raised, in 
spite of the fact that it was Virginia soil that was invaded 
and in spite of the additional fact that Virginia had more 
than three times the number of whites as had North Carolina. 
On account of the scarcity of gold, silver, and English money 
in the province, and also the fact that the paper money of the 
province was not current outside its limits, beef cattle and 
hogs were driven to the troops and were also sold on the local 
market for hard money to be used by the troops. Other 
ways of providing for the soldiers were to send dressed pork 
to Virginia and to ship goods to the West Indies and sell them 
for bills of exchange on New York. "The contributions on 
the part of North Carolina to the common defense in view 
of her scant resources were perhaps more generous than wise 
and were certainly out of proportion to the contributions of 
other colonies. Governor Dobbs said North Carolina 'could 
not be expected to defend the western frontier, assist the 
other colonies, and also maintain an independent force to 
defend the forts and protect the navigation of the colony.' 
Yet this is precisely what she did." 30 Colonel Innes, of North 
Carolina, was put in command, but on account of the fact that 
his men were not over one-half as many in number as were 
the enemy, and of the fact that the Assembly made no appro- 
priations, the expedition was unceremoniously abandoned. 
Colonel Innes was then notified that he had been superseded. 
Although the militia, on account of the lack of adequate 
supplies, did not do much outside the colony, it found plenty 
to do at home from 1757 to 1763 in holding in check the Ca- 
tawbas and Cherokees. In 1757 the insults and depredations 
of the Catawbas had reached such a stage that Governor 
Dobbs reported the situation to the Superior Court in session 
at Salisbury at that time. The Cherokees, too, came to be so 
annoying that in May, 1758 the people of Rowan County 
sent a petition to the legislature stating that the Indians were 

C R.. V, p. XII. 

48 Historical Papers 

becoming so murderous that the people near the forks of the 
Yadkin were leaving the settlement. 37 On May 10, \75' ) 
Governor Dobbs informed the Assembly that an express from 
the western part of the frontier had come to him telling of 
the murders by the Cherokees, and he asked for advice as to 
the best and quickest way to protect the people. He also ap- 
pealed to the Assembly for power to pay workmen to build 
forts and arms. He was referred to the militia laws in exist- 
ence and was informed that they fully authorized him to use 
the militia against the enemy. 38 Soon "Major Waddell was 
given two companies of provincials to protect the frontier 
and a commission as colonel with authority to order out and 
command the militia regiments of Anson, Rowan, and Orange 
if the Indians should continue their incursions." 30 In a re- 
sponse to a call from the Board of Trade, Governor Dobbs 
called on the commanding officers of the militia for return of 
the numbers mustered, how armed and trained, but his call 
was not readily complied with. In his report back to the 
Board of Trade he said: "... the militia officers are so de- 
fective that I can give no satisfactory account, but from the 
former year's return; for as I obtained a law to draught men 
out of the unmarried men in the militia to make up our Com- 
panies, they did not attend the musters when summoned, so 
that of the Regiments returned they are far short of the 
former year's, this was to avoid being draughted. They are 
all indolent and relaxed by not having the Laws executed that 
they won't submit to Government ; but fly to the swamps and 
are concealed by their friends and neighbors. ... As to their 
arms, they are not near half-armed, etc." 40 

It is not known whether the Governor called out the mili- 
tia against the Indians before the fall of 1759 or not, but, us- 
ing the provision added to the laws in 1756, he did order, with 
the consent of the Council. Colonel \\ addell to call out the 
Anson, Rowan, and Orange militias to aid Governor Little- 
ton of South Carolina in his rather ambitious attempt to con- 
duct in person an expedition against the Cherokees. The Leg- 

s' C. R. t V., p. L, et seq. 

M Ibid. 

» Ibid. 

*C. R., V., 571. 

Militia in North Carolina 49 

is'ature voted £5,300 for two companies of one hundred men 
each. 41 The colonels of the militia at Edenton and Newbern 
held their regiments in readiness for service. Along with a 
number of provincials 500 militia, who had been drafted for 
the purpose, were ordered under Colonel Waddell to go to 
South Carolina. In spite of the provision of the law of 1756, 
many refused to go outside the province. Colonel Waddell 
proceeded with what he had, until ordered back by Governor 
Lyttieton. On October 26, 1759 a treaty was made with the 
Cherokees. It amounted to very little, however, and South 
Carolina was left with the bag to hold. The Indians con- 
tinued their ravages. On February 27, 1760 a party of In- 
dians attacked Fort Dobbs, which was at th